Don’t throw away those peels! You may be using lemon juice for cooking and cleaning, but are you just throwing the rest away? Resist that urge – lemon zest packs a lot of flavor with very little bitterness, and what’s more, you’ll be getting an extra nutritional wallop.
Lemon zest – that is, the yellow colored part of the peel only, and not the white pith – packs a healthy dose of antioxidant Vitamin C, but that’s not all. It contains a number of compounds known as bioflavonoids which have shown remarkable promise in potential treatments for a range of disorders, including helping to regulate blood sugars, protect blood vessels and against heart disease, and more. That gives you two good reasons to add it to your regular diet.
You’ll find some options described below on how to best get the zest for your uses. Here are some ideas on how to add it to just about anything.
• Pasta – sprinkle it directly on pasta, or add it to other pasta sauces. Add it at the last minute for maximum flavor.
• Cakes, cookies & other baked goods – add lemon zest as you would other spices or seasonings – just a pinch at a time. It livens up cakes, cookies, biscuits, and more.
• Sauces – make simple pan sauces from the drippings of meat, chicken or fish by adding a splash of white wine or stock, and a pinch of lemon zest just before serving.
• Salads – add directly onto salads, or drop a pinch into your vinaigrette.
• Seasoning – mix with pepper for a bright rub you can use on beef or fish, or add to breadcrumbs as you coat fish or chicken.
• Mayo – add a pinch to mayo or aoili to brighten the taste.
• Eat it for breakfast – sprinkle on your oatmeal or yogurt, toast or pancakes – even eggs.
• Drink it – lemon zest livens up cocktails, tea, and plain or sparkling water.
How To Zest A Lemon
- 1 Lemon
- 1 medium-size lemon = approximately 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
- Wash the lemon first, no matter what method you choose.
- Remember to remove only the yellow colored portion of the peel.
- Method 1: Using a traditional grater, you will end up with long, thin strips of peel.
- Method 2: A very sharp knife or vegetable peeler can render you curls or chopped bits of peel.
- Method 3: A microplane grater will give you finely grated zest. Just rub the lemon in a single direction against the blades, turning the lemon around as you go.
- Tip: If you are not going to juice a lemon that you have just zested, wrap the zested lemon in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until ready to use.