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How to Zest Citrus Fruit

Whole and sliced limes with grater
January 27, 2020

It’s important to take advantage of fresh citrus when the season rolls around. Here’s how to make the most of your citrus with three simple methods for zesting.

How to Zest a Lime with a Microplane

While holding the Microplane, rock the lime back and forth over the grater to finely zest.

How to Zest a Lemon with a Hand Zester

Press a hand zester down into the citrus and move in a circular motion as if you are peeling the lemon.


How to Zest with a Knife

1. Hold a paring knife in one hand and the citrus in the other. Cut a tiny bit at a time, pulling the peel back towards yourself.

Note: Do not cut too deep. You do not want to cut into the citrus itself.

2. Switch to a Chef’s knife to finely julienne the peel by rocking the knife back and forth. Tuck your fingers on the other side to keep them safe.

Helpful Tips

  • Room temperature citrus will yield the most juice.
  • Always zest citrus fruit before squeezing the juice.
  • A lime will yield 1-2 Tbsp. juice and 1-2 tbsp zest.
  • A lemon will yield 3-4 Tbsp. juice and about 1 tbsp zest.
  • An orange will yield 1/3 – 1/2 cup juice and 1 1/2 Tbsp. zest.
By Chef Billy Parisi
Chef Billy Parisi is a culinary school grad who spent 15 years in the restaurant industry as a line cook, sous chef and executive chef. Now he develops, photographs and films simple and delicious recipes that will make everyone feel like a chef in their own kitchen.

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