I do a lot of zesting. Lemons, oranges, even limes. I think it’s fair to say that I zest more than the average person! This is, of course, due to all the experience I get with Etsy orders for popular items like cranberry orange pecan scones.
And blueberry lemon oatmeal cookies.
And all sorts of other muffins, cupcakes, cakes, and even breads that include a citrus zest.
And I don’t even like zesting!
But I keep lemons, oranges, and limes all the time, lots of them, because I never know what I’m going to need or when I’ll be zesting. We have a little mini fridge that was supposed to be a handy little fridge for drinks in the sitting room. I keep it filled up with lemons, oranges, and limes all the time. A friend visited recently, opened the mini fridge, and said, “What is this, your fruit fridge?” Well, yeah, kinda… The reason I started keeping the citrus fruits cold, rather than out on the counter, was to extend the life of the fruits so nothing was wasted before the next order came in requiring zesting.
Then I noticed something. Cold citrus fruits zest more easily.
One day I thought, what if I put a lemon in the freezer a little while before zesting? Would it zest even easier if it was even colder?
Well, yes, yes it does! In fact, it zests a WHOLE lot more easily. It’s a game-changer, even if you don’t zest as frequently as I do. It makes zesting much easier AND helps you get more zest.
When planning to zest a lemon, orange, or lime for a recipe, put the fruit in the freezer 30 minutes to an hour before you need to use it in your recipe. That’s long enough to harden the peel, but not long enough to freeze the interior of the fruit. (You can still use the interior for the juice or pulp if you don’t freeze it too long.)
I also use this Microplane zester, which is an additional help in zesting the peel efficiently without getting any nasty pith with it.
So there you have it–how to zest your best. Freeze the fruit first!