A Zester & a Lemon

How to Zest & Juice a Lemon!

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What is Lemon Zest?

What is lemon zest?  Lemon zest is a delicious and fun way to add a bit of citrusy flair to dishes.  You have probably seen it used on cooking shows or in restaurants.  Perhaps you have wondered how to zest your own lemons.  It is really very simple!

Before zesting, clean the fruit very well and then rinse and dry it.  If you plan on using the lemon for both its zest and juice then you should zest it first and then squeeze it for the juice.

No matter which tools you use to zest your lemon, always be sure to only zest the yellow part of the lemon.  The white section below is bitter and will NOT taste good.

How to zest using…

A Zester

As its name suggests, a zester is made specifically for this purpose and will produce long, thin strips of lemon zest.

A Vegetable Peeler or a Knife

With a vegetable peeler or knife, you will need to carefully separate the yellow outer layer from the fruit.  You will need to chop, shred or julienne the peel yourself afterward.

A Grater

When using a grater, use the finest grates you can find.  A Microplane style grater works well for this purpose.  Then, simply run the grater along the skin of the lemon in one direction.

Lemon Juice

Lemons are best juiced at room temperature.  If your lemon has been stored in the fridge, microwave it for about 15 seconds before juicing.

Place the lemon on the counter and with the heel of your hand, roll it around while applying pressure.  Cut the lemon in half and you can use a reamer to extract the juice.  I have an inexpensive wood reamer and it works wonderfully!  If you don’t have a reamer, simply place a fork in the lemon and squeeze while twisting, this will release all of the juice!


Fresh lemon juice can be stored in a covered container for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.

Wrap your lemon zest in plastic wrap (or put it in a storage bag) and then wrap it in aluminum foil.  Stored like this, your zest will keep for a year or more in the freezer.

So, yes, it’s a pretty and yummy ingredient that makes any dish feel “fancy” but it’s really a very simple thing to make and store.  If you are looking to freshen up salads, desserts or fish entrees and impress your family with your culinary expertise, try zesting a lemon!

Image © http://www.123rf.com/profile_elvinphoto



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About the author

Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. Masticating juicers can do everything centrifugal juicers can, but they can also handle tough, stringy items like wheatgrass. If you’re planning on juicing with a lot of greens, a masticating juicer will be much more efficient.