Citrus zest is loaded with fragrant oils and adds a zippy—and non-acidic—essence to baked goods, salad dressings, marinades, and more.
Step 1: Wash & dry Wash and dry the exterior of the citrus fruit of you choose.
TIP: Because of their thin skins, Key limes and Meyer lemons are not ideal for zesting. Stick with regular limes and lemons instead.
Step 2: Place rasp Place a rasp or a small grater in the center of a cutting board covered with wax paper — it will make the zest easier to retrieve after you're finished.
TIP: If the rasp or grater you are using is not a box-type, place the bottom on the cutting board and tilt the grater at a 45-degree angle, making sure the "teeth" are facing upward.
Step 3: Remove peel Applying firm pressure, drag the citrus fruit over the teeth of the grater to remove the colored part of the peel. When you reach the white part beneath the zest, rotate the fruit and tackle another area.
TIP: The white section underneath the skin is called the pith—it has a bitter flavor and is not part of the zest.
Step 4: Remove zest When finished, make sure to remove the zest that sticks to the underside of the grater. A dry pastry brush works well for this, but your finger will do in a pinch.
FACT: Many kitchen rasps are created through a process called "photo-etching," in which a chemical dissolves the metal, creating razor-sharp edges.