Today, I’m elated to talk about one of the most versatile fruits in the kitchen – Lemons. You probably already use lemon juice and lemon zest to take your food up a notch by giving it a citrus flavor to add that zing, so we have for you a detailed guide on how to make the most of the lemon peel you’re thinking to dispose of.
Lemon zest is made using the peel of the lemon. It is the bitter yellow portion that is on the outside. Generally, you would use the juice of the lemon and toss the peel into the garbage can. But, if you’re all set to step it up from Recipe Box and become a Dalstrong Pro, we’re here to guide you through it!
Meet me towards the end of this article for my family-exclusive recipe for a lemon drizzle cake! Let’s jump right in.
1. Uses Of Lemon Zest
Lemon is one of those fruits that is beneficial for health. It is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains more nutritional value than the juice of a lemon.
They also contain Fiber, Vitamin C, Calcium and Potassium. Another important nutrient present in lemon peels is limonene, which is excellent to fight cancerous cells and making herbal remedies for inflammation.
So, don’t throw your lemon peels just yet. You can make a batch of fresh lemon zest for all your meals within a couple of minutes. You could use the lemon zest as a cocktail garnish, a salad dressing, for a delicious lemon curd, or add that extra zing to your meals!
Now, more on how lemon zest or lime juice adds flavor to your food and elevates its flavor.
2. How To Make Lemon Zest In 3 Easy Ways
Lemon zest can be used as an alternative to lemon juice. To make fresh lemon zest, you can use a lemon wedge that has been stored in plastic wrap, however, there is nothing like a fresh lemon.
You can, however, store zested lemon shavings in the refrigerator. It is a common myth that the lemon shavings would get bitter, but that is untrue. The only part of a lemon where bitterness is found is in the pith.
Some individuals like to preserve the white pith in a lemon. The white pith is often bitter unless you’re using a Meyer lemon, which is much sweeter than ones you would easily find at a grocery store.
You can use a vegetable peeler or knife,, lemon zester, or a cheese grater, also known as a box grater, to get started. A potato peeler would work just fine, too.
1. Vegetable Peeler or Potato Peeler
- The citrus would have a sharp edge to it on one side, use that end to push the fruit towards the blades of the vegetable peeler.
- Pull in a downwards angle and lightly slide the vegetable peeler around the lemon. Be careful, you don’t want to puncture the lemon!
- Continue this process while trying not to remove the pith of the lemon.
- Once the entire peel is removed, take a good look around the lemon to see if any bits of the pith or the peel is still stuck to the fruit. Remove with a peeler where necessary.
- Use a paring knife to finely chop the peel or rind to make lemon zest.
2. Lemon Zester
- Begin by placing the sharp and fine-edged holes of the lemon zester on one end of the citrus.
- With a grazing technique, push your citrus fruit into the lemon zester by following the curve of the lemon.
- Continue this process until you have the lemon peel or rind, as well as the pith, in two parts on your cutting board.
- Get a paring knife to slice open the fresh lemon rind and use it to clean the corners of your house or to remove grease from pots and pans
3. Cheese Grater or Box Grater
- Pick the side of the lemon that has a pointed edge and place it on one side of the cheese grater with the smallest holes.
- Move your citrus in a back and forth motion. Remember to pay attention to your fingers as the box grater has sharp holes on each side of the surface.
- Continue this process until the yellow part of the lemon is completely removed, and all you’re left with is the pith. You can use a paring knife to finely chop up any chunky bits of lemon peel that are stuck to the box grater.
- Use your grated zest as a garnish or to make dried lemon peel or dried lemon zest seasoning which can also be used as a lemon juice substitute.
3. 6 Easy Lemon Zest Recipes
1. Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe
- Fresh lemon
- Olive oil
- Dijon Mustard
- In a bowl, whisk salt, and garlic seasoning together.
- In another bowl, whisk Dijon mustard, and lemon juice together. It is crucial to mix dry and wet ingredients separately to emulsify flavor.
- Add olive oil gradually to the mustard and lemon juice. Continue to whisk until it becomes a creamy sauce-like texture.
- For an extra zing, you can add half a teaspoon of lemon zest. That is all!
2. Ricotta Toast with Citrus Zest Recipe
- 4 slices of sourdough bread
- Citrus zest, preferably a Meyer lemon for a sweeter flavor
- Sliced fruit of choice (orange, blueberries, strawberries are common fruits for this recipe)
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons of honey with a citrus zest for a balanced lemon flavor
- Toast your sourdough bread if you prefer it that way.
- In a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of honey and use a paring knife to finely chop citrus zest. Add it to the bowl, and gently whip.
- In a separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese with a tablespoon of the honey and citrus mixture.
- Whip them together and then layer over sourdough bread.
- Add poppy seeds and mint leaves with your preferred choice of fruit and drizzle some more honey over the toast for extra flavor.
- Use a grater or citrus zester to garnish the toast.
- You could also use a citrus zester to add lime shavings to the ricotta.
3. Asparagus Salad Recipe
- Red Onions
- Feta Cheese
- Lemon Zest
- Dijon Dressing
- 2 bunches of romaine lettuce
- Preferred fruits
- Quinoa (optional)
- Slice one red onion into thin slivers and place in a bowl with water.
- Thinly slice radishes as it compliments the strong onion flavor with its mellow taste.
- Saute asparagus or bake them in the oven for a healthier version of this recipe. Once it is baked good, let it rest inside the oven.
- Use store-bought or homemade Dijon mustard dressing for this recipe. Remove a small quantity and keep it inside the fridge, as it will be used at the very end.
- Drain the water that the red onions were placed in.
- Place a bunch of romaine lettuce (remember to clean it!)
- Place asparagus on the bed of romaine lettuce and top it with onion, radish, lemon zest, and crumble of feta cheese.
- Drizzle the Dijon mustard dressing.
- Use a citrus zester to add lemon skin to elevate your dish.
- Add quinoa, your preferred fruit, and additional lemon extract and mix well.
4. Lemon Drizzle Cupcake Recipe
- Cake flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon zest or Lemon skin
- Fill your muffin moulds with cupcake liners and preheat your oven to 350º degrees F.
- In a bowl, whisk cake flour, salt, and baking powder together, and set them aside.
- In another bowl, mix softened butter and sugar until it reaches a light and fluffy texture. Gradually, add vanilla and eggs.
- Add in half of the flour mixture and mix until it has just started to combine.
- In the same bowl, add milk, lemon skin or lemon zest, with a dash of lemon juice and slowly mix. Don’t fret if the mixture looks like curdled milk, that is what we want.
- Add in the remaining flour and mix slowly, remember to scrape the sides for the stuck-on batter.
- Slowly add butter to the muffin tins, but make sure to only fill them ⅔ of the way.
- Then, you want to bake them for 20-25 minutes.
- When done, you would see them lightly golden on the muffin tops.
- Add the batter to the muffin liners, filling them 2/3 of the way full.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly golden on the top
- Use a toothpick to insert into the cupcakes, if the toothpick comes out clean and moist, all is done!
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 30-45 minutes before frosting them with a lemon skin glaze. (They’re just as scrumptious as they are.)
If you’re interested in a lemon skin glaze recipe, read on.
5. Lemon Skin Glaze Recipe
This one’s for a good friend who introduced me to different delicious lemon desserts, and it all began with this lemon skin glaze recipe. Let’s get into it!
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon extract
- Lemon zest
- Nozzle tip
- Piping bag
- In a bowl, mix softened butter and powdered sugar together.
- In a separate bowl, add milk, lemon zest, and lemon extract.
- Beat until the milk, lemon zest, and lemon extract are well combined.
- Add remaining sugar and butter from the bowl and continue to beat.
- Use a spatula to add this delicious batch of lemon skin glaze to your piping bag.
- Use a nozzle tip of your choice to frost your cupcakes.
6. Lemon Chicken Recipe
- Skinned and boned chicken breasts
- Salt and Pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Olive oil
- Chicken broth
- Lemon juice
- Lemon slices
- Lemon slices
- Chop up the chicken breast in half and place it in a plastic wrap. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten it on one side.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and all-purpose flour. Shake off any excess flour.
- In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter with some olive oil and place it over medium heat. Cook the chicken breast in the skillet for about three minutes on each side and then transfer it to a platter at room temperature.
- Add lemon juice and chicken broth to the skillet, and then cook for about 2 minutes – This should be enough time to thicken up the sauce.
- Now, add eight lemon wedges and grated bits of lemon skin for an acidic flavor.
- Now, turn off the heat and remove the skillet. Use kitchen shears or a chef knife to chop up some parsley.
- Once the sauce is thickened, pour it over the chicken. Garnish shavings of lemon pith for a bitter-acidic combination, it makes all the difference! You may now enjoy your delicious lemon chicken.
4. Pros And Cons Of Lemon Zest
There are pros and cons to every ingredient that goes into your food, and lemon zest is no exception to that. Be it the shelf-life, bitterness, or it is rich in oxalates, there are a couple of disadvantages to lemons. Let’s dive into all of it, shall we?
Pros of Lemon Zest
Like other citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and limes, lemon too, has its perks to offer. Not only is lemon a natural food enhancer for salad dressing and a lot of other recipes, but it also has innumerable benefits for your skin, thanks to the high levels of Vitamin C present in it.
Collagen is an essential part of skincare and using lemon zest or lemon wedges on your face as a scrub, or as a food enhancer, boosts the collagen levels in your body, and protects its elasticity of it, too.
Lemon supports dental hygiene and health by keeping diseases such as scurvy far, far away. A diet rich in citrus is important for the same reasons. It has naturally present antibacterial properties to fight off any future cardiovascular diseases as well.
Cons of Lemon Zest
Now, there aren’t many disadvantages to this flavorful fruit, but I’m going to explain the few cons attached to it. Firstly, it is completely safe to eat lemon zest, but if not cleaned properly, you could be ingesting a lot of chemicals, pesticides, and protective wax that the citrus fruits could be covered in.
So, it is crucial to wash your fruits thoroughly, and ideally, you should be opting for organic lemons.
Another thing to note is that they have a high amount of oxalates in them, so if you are diagnosed with kidney or gallbladder stones, you should avoid eating lemons.
5. Dalstrong Recommended Tools To Make Lemon Zest
Speaking of Dalstrong’s favorites, this swivel peeler takes the cake! This swivel peeler by Dalstrong is a fan favourite because of its easy-to-use nature. A step up from manual and electric peelers, it offers a sturdy handle, and most importantly, an ultra-sharp blade.
- You can peel the lemon in both directions, which is not a common find in most peelers yet.
- Research has found that swivel peelers produce much less waste. And at Dalstrong, we aim for sustainability.
- A swivel peeler is great, but it strays far away from a traditional peeler, so if you prefer Y-shaped peelers, you might not prefer buying this one.
- The blade needs to be washed thoroughly to avoid rusting and to maintain its non-stick properties.
We aren’t calling it a day by designing premium quality knives. Dalstrong has an incredible line of vegetable peelers on the horizon that are perfect for lemons and creating lemon zest. This Y peeler is ideal for professional chefs and home chefs, too. Offering versatility and comfort, this is one gadget to watch out for.
- This Y peeler comes with 3 stainless steel blades that are made with Japanese stainless steel, which is incredible since most peelers are equipped with only one.
- This grip on this peeler allows you to maneuver around the food’s surface without any wrist or palm fatigue.
- It may not be ideal for heavy-weighted foods.
- This blade runs in one direction at a time, so if you’re looking for a quick fix, might I suggest a swivel peeler.
This NSF-certified paring knife is a total showstopper! This bird’s beak paring knife from the shadow black series is designed for an effortless process.
The curve on the tip of its blade helps peel other foods, too. This bird’s beak paring knife truly kills two birds with one stone.
- The blade is precision-forged and ultra-sharp, offering a stunning score of 58+ on the Rockwell scale of hardness.
- This paring knife offers you knuckle clearance and a full tang blade.
- The non-reflective, titanium nitride coating could pose a challenge when you need to sharpen this knife.
- You may prefer the traditional route and want to opt for a stainless steel paring knife. Read on, we have just the one for you!
Elevate your culinary experience with Dalstrong’s cutting board that is made with Teak Wood. It is hand-crafted with 100% natural Teak Wood and is engineered with materials made out of premium quality. It is moisture and bacteria-resistant and low in maintenance. Sounds like everything you could wish for in a cutting board, doesn’t it?
- It has a slip-resistant surface.
- Hard and sturdy enough to support heavy cutting or chopping.
- The perfect surface for peeling or zesting lemons.
- Since this cutting board is made with teak wood, it is not intended for hot surfaces.
- You need to hand wash it with soap and water, then pat it dry, so the Teak Wood does not absorb the soap mixture.
6. Frequently Asked Questions
How do you zest a lemon?
Take your lemon and place the sharper edge into a vegetable peeler, cheese grater, or box grater. Then, move it in a back and forth motion.
What exactly is lemon zest?
Lemon Zest is shavings from the skin of the lemon, which is found on the outer layer of the fruit.
What can I substitute for lemon zest?
You can use lemon extract or lemon juice as a substitute for lemon zest.
Is grated lemon peel the same as lemon zest?
Zest is the yellow-coloured portion of the fruit found on the outside, whereas grated lemon peel could be the skin or the rind of the lemon.
How do you make lemon zest without a lemon zester?
To make lemon zest without a zester, use a fine grater or cheese grater with sharp edges. Wash the lemon thoroughly, then gently grate the outer layer of the lemon, being cautious not to include the bitter white pith underneath. This zest can add a burst of lemon flavor to various lemon recipes like lemon curd and is a handy technique for home cooks without specialized tools.
Is lemon zest and lemon peel the same thing?
Lemon zest and lemon peel are closely related but not quite the same. Lemon zest refers specifically to the finely grated, outermost layer of the lemon's peel, which contains aromatic oils and imparts intense lemon flavor. Lemon peel, on the other hand, can encompass the entire outer layer, including the zest, but may also include the bitter white pith beneath. Zest is prized for its concentrated citrus essence.
Can I use a grater to zest a lemon?
What part of lemon is the zest?
The zest of a lemon is the outermost layer of the lemon peel. It is the colored part of the peel that contains the lemon's aromatic oils and intense citrus flavor. It is typically the bright, yellow portion of the peel, which is rich in flavor and used to add a burst of lemon essence to various dishes, desserts, and beverages.