lemon zest question

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Elaine, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. Elaine

    Elaine Guest

    New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could only
    get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the peel or
    can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I cook but this is out
    of my league! Thanks,
     
    Tags:


  2. Dave Smith

    Dave Smith Guest

    elaine wrote:

    > New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    > cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    > practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could
    > only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the
    > peel or can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I cook but
    > this is out of my league!

    The zest you want is just that outside yellow stuff that is packed with oils and flavour. A zester
    is a nice way to get strands of it, but I too have found it hard to get a decent amount with one. I
    just bought a Microplane (from Lee Valley) a few weeks ago and have already used it a few times
    with great results. It is much more efficient at getting decent amounts of zest, and fine enough
    that it can go right into the other ingredients without further chopping. A word of caution....
    watch the fingers.
     
  3. Hahabogus

    Hahabogus Guest

    "elaine" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    > cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    > practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could
    > only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the
    > peel or can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I cook but
    > this is out of my league! Thanks,
    >
    >

    Zest, any zest is just the thin coloured outer part of the citrus fruit peel. The white pithy part
    is bitter and shouldn't be used as zest. Hope this answers your question.

    A micro-plainer is excellent at harvesting this. Or you can use the fine side of the 4 sided grating
    box dealie. Or even a zesting tool. The zesting tool produces long thin curls and the micro-plainer
    and grater produce finer and smaller results.

    --
    And the beet goes on! (or under) -me just a while ago
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>, "elaine" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    > cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    > practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could
    > only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the
    > peel or can I zest the skin too?"

    You might not be able to get 2 Tb of zest from one lemon, unless it's a big one.

    I'm not sure I understand your distinction between "peel" and "skin". For citrus zest, it is usually
    desirable to take only the outermost brightly colored layer of the fruit's skin. That's the part
    which provides the tangy taste and aromatics. Try to avoid including the white layer underneath -
    which is bitter.

    A microplane grater is a quick and easy way to get the good zest without the bad stuff. Microplanes
    are available at most cookware stores. Very handy for grating cheese and other tasks, too.

    --
    Julian Vrieslander
     
  5. Bob Pastorio

    Bob Pastorio Guest

    elaine wrote:

    > New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    > cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    > practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could
    > only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the
    > peel or can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I cook but
    > this is out of my league!

    The zest is only the yellow part. The white (pith) is bitter. Lemon extract won't taste the same.

    If you can only get one tablespoon of zest out of a lemon and you need two tablespoons of zest, use
    two lemons.

    Pastorio
     
  6. Dave Smith wrote:

    > The zest you want is just that outside yellow stuff that is packed with oils and flavour. A zester
    > is a nice way to get strands of it, but I too have found it hard to get a decent amount with one.
    > I just bought a Microplane (from Lee Valley) a few weeks ago and have already used it a few times
    > with great results. It is much more efficient at getting decent amounts of zest, and fine enough
    > that it can go right into the other ingredients without further chopping. A word of caution....
    > watch the fingers.

    Here's what works for me: I take my sharp paring knife and cut the yellow zest off the lemon. If I
    get some of the white pith while I'm at it, I lay the peel down on the cutting board and trim it off
    by holding the knife flat against the peel. This gives me strips of zest about a quarter inch wide
    or a little wider. I wrap these in plastic and freeze them until need it for baking. (Or I use it
    right away.) The zest strips go straight into a little spice chopper which works like a food
    processor but is smaller.

    --Lia
     
  7. hahabogus wrote:

    > Zest, any zest is just the thin coloured outer part of the citrus fruit peel. The white pithy part
    > is bitter and shouldn't be used as zest. Hope this answers your question.

    I have another question. California oranges are usually bright orange with a skin/zest like a
    California lemon. Florida oranges are usually a yellow-green-orange color with a different texture
    to the peel, more like a Florida key lime. Florida oranges tend to be juicier, better for making
    orange juice. California oranges break into nice sections easier making them better for eating. I'm
    not sure why, but I've always used California citrus fruit for zest (even when I lived in Florida),
    but is it really better? Is that bright orange color the way it grows or an edible dye? Does it make
    any difference?

    --Lia
     
  8. Mike Pearce

    Mike Pearce Guest

    "Julia Altshuler" wrote in message
    news:[email protected]_s03...
    >
    > Here's what works for me: I take my sharp paring knife and cut the yellow zest off the lemon. If I
    > get some of the white pith while I'm at it, I lay the peel down on the cutting board and trim it
    > off by holding the knife flat against the peel. This gives me strips of zest about a quarter inch
    > wide or a little wider. I wrap these in plastic and freeze them until need it for baking. (Or I
    > use it right away.) The zest strips go straight into a little spice chopper which works like a
    > food processor but is smaller.

    I'm a knife zester too. I don't freeze them though. I go through a lot of lemons and always have
    them on hand. If I need zest I'll just zest a lemon or two and put the skinless lemon in a plastic
    bag knowing I'll be using it within a day or so. I'll also chop up the zest with a knife rather than
    one of those chopper things (which I don't own anyway)

    I've been kind of lusting after a microplane grater because I think they are kind of cool, but I
    can't really justify getting one since everything I would use it for I can handle pretty easily with
    what I have already. I really try to keep my kitchen gadgets down to a minimum.

    -Mike
     
  9. Peggy

    Peggy Guest

    Julia Altshuler wrote:
    > Dave Smith wrote:
    >
    >> The zest you want is just that outside yellow stuff that is packed with oils and flavour. A
    >> zester is a nice way to get strands of it, but I too have found it hard to get a decent amount
    >> with one. I just bought a Microplane (from Lee Valley) a few weeks ago and have already used it a
    >> few times with great results. It is much more efficient at getting decent amounts of zest, and
    >> fine enough that it can go right into the other ingredients without further chopping. A word of
    >> caution.... watch the fingers.
    >
    >
    > Here's what works for me: I take my sharp paring knife and cut the yellow zest off the lemon. If I
    > get some of the white pith while I'm at it, I lay the peel down on the cutting board and trim it
    > off by holding the knife flat against the peel. This gives me strips of zest about a quarter inch
    > wide or a little wider. I wrap these in plastic and freeze them until need it for baking. (Or I
    > use it right away.) The zest strips go straight into a little spice chopper which works like a
    > food processor but is smaller.
    >
    > --Lia
    >
    >

    I recently found a standard-size box grater with one side that's a zester -- tiny holes shaped like
    those on the shredder side. It works very efficiently, and I don't shred my knuckles on it.

    Peg
     
  10. Zenit

    Zenit Guest

    On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 21:43:19 -0600,
    "Mike Pearce" <[email protected]>
    had to open a new box of zerones to say:

    >"Julia Altshuler" wrote in message news:[email protected]_s03...
    >>
    >> Here's what works for me: I take my sharp paring knife and cut the yellow zest off the lemon. If
    >> I get some of the white pith while I'm at it, I lay the peel down on the cutting board and trim
    >> it off by holding the knife flat against the peel. This gives me strips of zest about a quarter
    >> inch wide or a little wider. I wrap these in plastic and freeze them until need it for baking.
    >> (Or I use it right away.) The zest strips go straight into a little spice chopper which works
    >> like a food processor but is smaller.
    >
    >I'm a knife zester too. I don't freeze them though. I go through a lot of lemons and always have
    >them on hand. If I need zest I'll just zest a lemon or two and put the skinless lemon in a plastic
    >bag knowing I'll be using it within a day or so. I'll also chop up the zest with a knife rather
    >than one of those chopper things (which I don't own anyway)
    >
    >I've been kind of lusting after a microplane grater because I think they are kind of cool, but I
    >can't really justify getting one since everything I would use it for I can handle pretty easily
    >with what I have already. I really try to keep my kitchen gadgets down to a minimum.
    >
    >-Mike

    Mike, the Microplane is not a gadget, it's a necessity... :eek:)

    Few pieces of kitchen gear do more than claimed for such little money... Break out the credit
    card... You'll be glad you did...

    <! -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- zenit -- --
     
  11. Mike Pearce

    Mike Pearce Guest

    "zenit" wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > "Mike Pearce" wrote:

    > >I've been kind of lusting after a microplane grater because I think they
    are
    > >kind of cool, but I can't really justify getting one since everything I would use it for I can
    > >handle pretty easily with what I have already. I really try to keep my kitchen gadgets down to a
    > >minimum.
    >
    > Mike, the Microplane is not a gadget, it's a necessity... :eek:)
    >
    > Few pieces of kitchen gear do more than claimed for such little money... Break out the credit
    > card... You'll be glad you did...
    >

    I can understand where you are coming from with the necessity thing. Though most people who post
    here probably own a mortar and pestle, most people I know don't. A mortar and pestle would probably
    be in my top ten tools to have in a kitchen, likely above a stock pot on the list. I don't get how
    people can get along without one. I guess they are just dust gathering gadgets to some.

    Believe me, I'd buy a microplane if I could think of a good reason. I keep trying. I look at them
    longingly every time I'm in a kitchen store. Zesting or grating cheese isn't a good reason to me.
    Unfortunately, I take after my dad and am kind of a tool junkie. I'm not as bad as he is yet. I only
    buy tools when I know I will use them, even if only once. He buys them just because he thinks they
    are cool. Years ago I told him I was going to buy a drill. He brought me down to the basement and
    literally laid out at least a dozen drills and told me to take which ever one I wanted. I'll
    probably get a microplane when I sink to my Dad's level.

    -Mike
     
  12. On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 22:30:53 -0600, "Mike Pearce"

    >Believe me, I'd buy a microplane if I could think of a good reason. I keep trying. I look at them
    >longingly every time I'm in a kitchen store. Zesting or grating cheese isn't a good reason to me.
    >Unfortunately, I take after my dad and am kind of a tool junkie. I'm not as bad as he is yet. I
    >only buy tools when I know I will use them, even if only once. He buys them just because he thinks
    >they are cool. Years ago I told him I was going to buy a drill. He brought me down to the basement
    >and literally laid out at least a dozen drills and told me to take which ever one I wanted. I'll
    >probably get a microplane when I sink to my Dad's level.

    Oh, break down and buy one, It isn't like it is the most expensive thing on the planet. It costs
    maybe $10? So try one out. What do you have to lose? It isn't rocket science.

    You might find you love it..or you might find out you could live without it. Just try it.

    Christine
     
  13. Elaine

    Elaine Guest

    "If you can only get one tablespoon of zest out of a lemon and you need two tablespoons of zest, use
    two lemons."

    Pastorio

    Yes, well that makes sense! Thanks to all who responded. I'm going to look for a microplane - also
    will freeze lemon zest. I never thought of doing that.
    E.
     
  14. Blake Murphy

    Blake Murphy Guest

    On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 04:17:25 GMT, hahabogus <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"elaine" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    >
    >> New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    >> cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which I
    >> practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but could
    >> only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon just the
    >> peel or can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I cook but
    >> this is out of my league! Thanks,
    >>
    >>
    >
    >Zest, any zest is just the thin coloured outer part of the citrus fruit peel. The white pithy part
    >is bitter and shouldn't be used as zest. Hope this answers your question.
    >
    >A micro-plainer is excellent at harvesting this. Or you can use the fine side of the 4 sided
    >grating box dealie. Or even a zesting tool. The zesting tool produces long thin curls and the micro-
    >plainer and grater produce finer and smaller results.

    you can get by with an ordinary potato peeler if you're careful.

    your pal, blake
     
  15. Hahabogus

    Hahabogus Guest

    "elaine" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    >
    > "If you can only get one tablespoon of zest out of a lemon and you need two tablespoons of zest,
    > use two lemons."
    >
    > Pastorio
    >
    > Yes, well that makes sense! Thanks to all who responded. I'm going to look for a microplane - also
    > will freeze lemon zest. I never thought of doing that.
    > E.
    >
    >
    >

    freeze lemon, lime and orange zest...let no citrus fruit escape being zested...Also zest can be
    dried on top of a frequently used toaster oven on a metal cookie sheet (small).

    --
    And the beet goes on! (or under) -me just a while ago
     
  16. David Wright

    David Wright Guest

    On Sat, 13 Dec 2003 22:03:21 GMT, blake murphy <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >you can get by with an ordinary potato peeler if you're careful.
    >
    >your pal, blake

    Just for fun, I tried my old-fashioned apple peeler-corer-slicer, hand-cranked machine to collect a
    bunch of lemon zest at one time. It works very well, I'm pleased to say.

    I got (stole) the idea from watching a "Mario Eats Italy" episode that included a segment in a
    limoncello factory.

    David
     
  17. Katra

    Katra Guest

    blake murphy wrote:
    >
    > On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 04:17:25 GMT, hahabogus <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >"elaine" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    > >
    > >> New to this group - love the chatter and the tips ! Baking is not my forte but have to go to a
    > >> cookie party tomorrow - my first ever. So am a wee bit stressed. My lemon cookie recipe (which
    > >> I practiced last weekend) calls for 2 TB of lemon zest. Got out the lemon and my zester but
    > >> could only get 1 TB from one lemon. I think I was doing it right but my question; -- 'Is lemon
    > >> just the peel or can I zest the skin too?" or should I buy lemon extract - I never cheat when I
    > >> cook but this is out of my league! Thanks,
    > >>
    > >>
    > >
    > >Zest, any zest is just the thin coloured outer part of the citrus fruit peel. The white pithy
    > >part is bitter and shouldn't be used as zest. Hope this answers your question.
    > >
    > >A micro-plainer is excellent at harvesting this. Or you can use the fine side of the 4 sided
    > >grating box dealie. Or even a zesting tool. The zesting tool produces long thin curls and the micro-
    > >plainer and grater produce finer and smaller results.
    >
    > you can get by with an ordinary potato peeler if you're careful.
    >
    > your pal, blake

    That's actually quite true. :) Mom used to use one to strip zest when she needed a lot of it. A
    fine cheese grater works well also if you go easy.

    K.

    --
    >^,,^< Cats-haven Hobby Farm >^,,^< [email protected] >^,,^<

    "There are millions of intelligent species in the universe, and they are all owned by
    cats" -- Asimov

    Custom handcrafts, Sterling silver beaded jewelry http://cgi3.ebay.com/aw-
    cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewListedItems&userid=katra
     
  18. Bob Pastorio

    Bob Pastorio Guest

    hahabogus wrote:

    > "elaine" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    >
    >
    >>"If you can only get one tablespoon of zest out of a lemon and you need two tablespoons of zest,
    >>use two lemons."
    >>
    >>Pastorio
    >>
    >>Yes, well that makes sense! Thanks to all who responded. I'm going to look for a microplane - also
    >>will freeze lemon zest. I never thought of doing that.
    >>E.
    >
    > freeze lemon, lime and orange zest...let no citrus fruit escape being zested...Also zest can be
    > dried on top of a frequently used toaster oven on a metal cookie sheet (small).

    I do mine on top of my counter. Lay out the zest in a single layer on a glass plate (no special
    reason for it, it's the biggest of the plates in the cabinet), inside surface up, and leave it alone
    for about 3 days (depending on how dry your house is this time of year. Run it through my spice mill
    to grind it to whatever size I need. All the way down to a powder.

    I used a mixture of 90% powdered sugar and 10% powdered orange zest (by weight) to dust the outside
    of some Cointreau dark chocolate truffles last week. Astonishing.

    Pastorio
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>,
    Katra <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >
    >Naomi Darvell wrote:
    >>
    >> I have a bottle of Boyajian lemon oil, which is not the same as lemon extract, and which will do
    >> in a pinch to substitute for zest if I've run out of lemons. They do an orange oil too.

    And lime!

    Boyajian rools. And so does the Microplane for zesting citrus. Mother and SIL are getting them for
    Christmas, along with a Mexican orange juicer.

    >Pure Lemon Essential oil has also worked FAR better in some recipes than extracts for me. :) There
    >is something special tho' about the flavor of Zest...
    >
    >I use "Now" brand essential oils.

    A little dab'll do ya, as we used to say. I use ONE teaspoon per 500 g chocolate for truffles and it
    is noticeably lemon.

    I have a cookbook "Luscious Lemon Desserts" with triple-lemon sugar cookies - zest, oil, juice.
    Amazingly good, even if a bit fiddly.

    Charlotte
     
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