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Lemon zest adds sunshine to all your favorite spring and summer soups, salads, and lemon desserts! You don’t need a fancy gadget, either; here’s how to zest a lemon with (almost) anything you have in the kitchen, as well as make a picture perfect twist for any cocktail.

How to Zest a Lemon

Lemon zest adds sunshine to all your favorite spring and summer soups, salads, and lemon desserts! You don’t need a fancy gadget, either; here’s how to zest a lemon with (almost) anything you have in the kitchen, as well as make a picture perfect twist for any cocktail.

Course Drinks, Pantry
Cuisine American
Keyword lemon
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 1 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon

Instructions

To zest lemon with a peeler:

  1. Hold the lemon in one hand and the peeler in the other. Beginning at the top of the fruit, use the peeler to cut into the skin and carefully remove the peel in strips, or a spiral if you’re feeling fancy, working your way around the lemon.

To zest a lemon with a knife:

  1. Hold the lemon in one hand and the knife in the other. Beginning at the top of the fruit, cut into the skin and carefully remove the peel in strips, working your way around the lemon. Be careful that you don’t cut in too deeply; your goal is to get the shallowest slice possible.

To zest a lemon with a box grater:

  1. Place the grater over a cutting board or clean work surface. Holding the box grater by the handle firmly with one hand, and the lemon in the other, push the lemon away from you across the rough side of the grater, removing the colorful part of the fruit, exposing the pith. Gently rotate the lemon as you go, to get all of the zest you can from each fruit.

To zest a lemon with a microplane:

  1. Hold the grater in one hand and the lemon in the other over a cutting board or clean work surface. Going in one direction, push the lemon away from you across the rough side of the grater, removing the colorful part of the fruit, exposing the pith. Gently rotate the lemon as you go, to get all of the zest you can from each fruit.

To zest a lemon with a lemon zester or channel knife:

  1. Depending on whether you need a garnish or zest, you can use one part or the other. To use the zester, hold the lemon in one hand and the zester in the other. Starting at the top of the lemon, press the round blades into the skin and move them across the fruit, rotating so that you get all of the zest you can.

  2. To use a channel knife, hold the lemon in one hand and the channel knife in the other. Dig the tip of the channel-shaped blade into the lemon at the middle, and rotate the lemon so that you make one long, narrow peel.

To make a lemon twist:

  1. Gently rotate a long strip of lemon peel around a drinking straw, securing each end with pins to hold it in place. This can be done in advance; by the time your cocktail is ready, your twist will be beautiful and perfectly curled. Just remember to give it an extra twist over the drink, to release the natural oils over the surface of the cocktail.