Product Review: Microplane Zester
Recently I attended a talk given by Fresh from the Farm author, gardener, and foodie Susie Middleton, who said that her “microplane zester” was one of her favorite kitchen tools, perfect for removing the tasty, brilliant zest from citrus—citrus being one of her top ten ingredients to keep on hand for garnishing home-grown vegetables (I hope to interview Susie soon for CCF).
First, a disclaimer: I keep a fairly simple utensil drawer, and it’s been a long time since I treated myself to a new kitchen toy. For years, I simply used a regular cheese grater for this task. When I was an ex-pat grad student in Canada, I even took a potato peeler and created broad strips (mostly zest, with some of the bitter white inner peel), then trimmed and sliced the strips as finely as possible. But Susie was so enthusiastic I couldn’t resist. At my local hardware store, a medium-grade zester cost under $15.00. $13.99, to be exact. There’s no sales tax in Montana. (c:
I tested the zester by baking an Inside Out Lemon Cake for an Easter potluck. The lemons in the store were small, which is why I included a teaspoon in this photo. Otherwise, the zester looks enormous.
As promised, it removed the bright yellow zest almost effortlessly (very easy on the wrists!), leaving every bit of the bitter white under-peel on the lemon. This also made juicing the lemon easier, to make the cake’s sugar-juice glaze. Mmmmm.
Results: The soft, super-fine zest vanished in the cake batter and barely showed up in the glaze (I’ve gotten used to a coarser zest, with a fairly strong personality). The flavor was fantastic—and I think this zest would be even better on salads or, as Susie suggests, sprinkled (zested at the last possible moment, to preserve the volatile oils) on some perfectly cooked garden vegetables.
Kids and adults, free-eaters all, at the potluck gave the cake a thumbs-up. I’m going to keep the zester handy.