5 Professional Tips for Cooking with Citrus Zests

cooking zestOrange, grapefruit, lemon, bergamot, mandarin… How to make the most of citrus zest in cooking? Discover these  5 winning advices.

Learn how to collect zest
Put your fruit in the refrigerator for an hour before removing the skin. Use a grater or a peeler with which you pull the skin of citrus in strips or spirals, without pressing too hard not to touch the pulp. A zester is a very handy tool, specific to remove citrus zest in thin strips, here’s a good example from Amazon. It is advisable to buy fruit from organic agriculture.

Blanch the zest
Immerse peels in cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain the zests. This technique allows to remove their bitterness..

Prepare candied citrus peels
Blanch the zest. After the first boil, replace the water in the saucepan with cold water and repeat the same operation again. Drain again and set zests aside. Add water and sugar  in equal amounts in the empty pot, bringing to a boil. Then immerse the zest in the syrup. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to make the peels completely translucent. A fastest technique is to heat the skins with water, 2 tablespoons sugar and 10 ounces of water in a ramekin in the microwave for 3 minutes at full power, even more if there is still water left.

Make zest powder
Set zest ribbons to dry up for 2 days. Put in your preheated oven for 5-10 minutes. Let cool and grind them into powder using a mortar or a grinder. Ideal to finely season your dishes!

Flavor your recipes
You can use candied zest in your cakes, crepes, mousses, chocolate madeleines and marmalade, custards, apple pies, quick breads or fruit salad! Give a fresh touch to your desserts! Feel free to be innovative in incorporating zest to your savory recipes: sweet pork, fried leeks and cream, grilled prawns … You can also put a bit of powdered lemon peel in the water jug​​. Anything is allowed!

(photo credit: CC by SA 2.0, INeedCoffee)

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