Begin by selecting the right sort of lemons for zesting. The small varieties that have a soft, thin, and smooth peel will not do, as the zest cannot be scraped off these. Therefore, it is essential to use the larger varieties of lemons, that have thicker peels, and thus, more zest on the surface.
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Once you have obtained the right kind of lemons, you will need to prepare them for the zesting process. Wash them all thoroughly, to remove any dirt or debris on the surface – if this makes it into your dish, you may come across unpleasant sand grains while eating. While washing, remove any stems and leaves from the lemons, and finally, pat them all dry with a kitchen towel.
Next, select the sort of zester you want. These come in two types – one variety consists of a handle that ends in a claw-like contraption that is raked over the lemon. The other variety is a long metal rod attached to a handle – the metal rod has holes in it similar to a cheese grater’s (only much smaller), and the lemons are rubbed against this to remove their zest.
If you use the claw-like gadget, simply hold your lemon firmly in your hand, and starting from the top of the lemon, scrape all the way down to the base – make sure you place a bowl underneath, to catch the zest. This results in thin curls of lemon zest, that are great for making things like candied lemon peel. Do not scrape over the same area twice, and continue scraping all over the lemon until you have as much zest as you need.
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If you are using the grating gadget, hold the lemon firmly in your hand, and rake the grater over it, all the while holding it over a bowl to catch the zest. This will dislodge the zest in powder form, which can easily be blended into practically any dish that calls for lemon zest. Do not scrape over the same area for too long, as you might start grating the pith- once you see white, move to another area on the surface of the lemon.
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