Lemon zest is in the world of cooking the outer part of the lemon. The lemon zest is the bright yellow lemon rind or peel.
The lemon pith has a bitter flavor.
Because the lemon pith does not taste especially good it is taken for granted that the pith is removed whenever a recipe calls for lemon zest. This is important as the lemon pith may ruin the pleasant taste of the lemon zest.
Whenever you can, please do choose organic lemons when you have the intention of using the lemon zest in your cooking.
You want to use lemons that are not waxed and are free from pesticides. If this is unattainable, be sure to wash your lemons thoroughly first.
When choosing a lemon make sure the lemon does not have any bruises or discoloration. Your lemon should have a nice yellow color and be somewhat firm to hold. Avoid lemons that are too hard or too squishy.
Lemon zest can be dried or frozen for later use. The process of drying lemon zest is easy.
You simply leave the lemon zest spread out on a tray over night. Another way to dry the lemon zest is to spread it on a baking sheet and bake the zest for about 20 minutes at 200°C.
When the zest is completely cooled off and dry you need to store it in an airtight container. It can be stored in room temperature.
When lemon zest is left to dry it will tend to curl during the drying process. The curly zest does make a fancy garnish quite many different main courses and desserts. You can also try it in salads.
CANDIED LEMON ZEST
Lemon zest if saved can be put to excellent use.
Use: equal amounts of sugar-water-zest
- Remove the greater portion of the white pith on the inside.
- Throw the rinds into boiling water and simmer gently for about twenty minutes.
- Drain, weigh, and take an equal amount of sugar and lemon rind.
- Put the sugar, an equal amount of water and the lemon rind into the pot; cook on slow fire until the sugar melts.
- When the sugar has melted, cook slowly until the rinds are transparent.
- Lift the lemon rinds out; drain them and spread them out. When the lemon rind is nearly dry, roll it in granulated sugar.
There are other ways you can make candied lemon zest.
- Cook your lemon rinds in water until soft.
- Drain out the water and roll the lemon rinds in sugar.
- Finally bake lemon rinds covered in sugar for about 20 minutes in the oven.
You can store your candied lemon zest in airtight containers in regular room temperature.
Make a fantastic Gremolata
Gremolata is an Italian garnish which can be used on all meat dishes and on stews. A dash of gremolata on a heavy meat soup tastes awesome. The best thing is that it only takes about five minutes to make. You should use your gremolata the same day you make it.
Be sure to have a small bowl of gremolata on the table the next time you are serving meat or stew dishes. Your guests will love it!
You will need: lemon zest, garlic cloves and parsley. You can use olive oil as well, but that is optional.
Use equal amounts of lemon zest and garlic cloves. Use double amount of very fine chopped parsley.
For example: 4 tablespoons of minced lemon zest, 4 tablespoons of minced garlic cloves and 8 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley.
Use a microplane to mince the lemon zest and garlic cloves. Simply rub the lemon and the garlic on the microplane. It is fast and easy.
Chop the parsley. Mix it together.
You may add a tablespoon of olive oil to make it moist, if you like. All done! You now have a delicious garnish!