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How to Make Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is essential for flavoring (and garnishing) many desserts — and it's often interchangeable with orange and lime zest. But lemon zest can be bitter if not made properly. Here's an easy technique for removing the flavor-packed zest without picking up the bitter white part of the fruit.

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of the lemon or orange rind.

    Don't get the white pith!

  2. Stack a few slices together and then slice the pieces of rind lengthwise as thinly as possible.

    Use a sharp chef's knife for this slicing. And you have your zest! But what to do with the rest of that lemon or orange?

  3. Cut off the white pith of the fruit.

    If you don't want this bitter pith in your zest, you certainly don't want it in your fruit sections.

  4. Slice off the ends of the fruit, widthwise.

    Cut off about 1/4 inch from each end.

  5. Cut away the fruit's sections by running the blade along either side of the white membrane that separates sections.

    Now, you not only have your zest, you have the fruit sections to work with!

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