Zest is a food ingredient that is prepared by scraping or cutting from
the outer, colorful skin of unwaxed citrus fruits such as lemon,
orange, citron, and lime. Zest is used to add flavor ("zest") to
In terms of fruit anatomy, the zest is obtained from the flavedo
(exocarp) which is also referred to as zest. The flavedo and white
pith (albedo) of a citrus fruit together makes up its peel. The
amounts of both flavedo and pith are variable among citrus fruits, and
may be adjusted by the manner in which they are prepared.
Cross-section of an orange. The flavedo is zested; the bitter white albedo or pith is generally not used.
1 Preparation 2 Variation between fruit 3 Uses 4 Health 5 References
More orange flavedo than white albedo; contrast with orange, right.
Zesting a lime; the white mesocarp is visible where some of the green flavedo has been cut away.
Slicing mesocarp from flavedo to make marmalade, using a flexible filet-style knife.
For culinary use, a zester, grater, vegetable peeler, paring knife, or even a surform tool is used to scrape or cut zest from the fruit. Alternatively, the peel is sliced, then excess pith (if any) cut away. The white portion of the peel under the zest (pith, albedo or mesocarp) may be unpleasantly bitter and is generally avoided by limiting the peeling depth. Some citrus fruits have so little white mesocarp that their peel can be used whole.
Dried mandarin peel used whole as a seasoning (chenpi in Chinese).
Variation between fruit
The zest and mesocarp vary with the genetics of the fruit. Fruit with
peels that are almost all flavedo are generally mandarines; relatives
of pummelos and citrons tend to have thicker mesocarp. The mesocarp of
pummelo relatives (grapefruit, orange, etc.) is generally more bitter;
the mesocarp of citron relatives (Mexican and Persian limes, alemows
etc.) is milder. The lemon is a hybrid of pummelo, citron, and
mandarin. The mesocarp is also edible, and is used to make succade.
Zest is often used to add flavor to different pastries and sweets,
such as pies (e.g., lemon meringue pie), cakes, cookies, biscuits,
puddings, confectionery, candy and chocolate. Zest also is added to
certain dishes (including ossobuco alla milanese), marmalades, sauces,
sorbets and salads.
Zest is a key ingredient in a variety of sweet and sour condiments,
including lemon pickle, lime chutney, and marmalade.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2016)
The fungicide enilconazole (commonly known as Imazalil) is a known carcinogen widely used to grow citrus crops. An exposure standard governing the outer skin of a citrus fruit would likely differ from an exposure standard governing the fruit pulp. Depending on the chemical present and the degree of concern, a consumer might wish to wash or roughly scrub an item of citrus fruit prior to zesting the peel. References
^ Bender, David (2009). Oxford Dictionary of Food and Nutrition (third
ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 215.
^ "Market Watch: The wild and elusive Dancy". David Karp, LA Times.
Look up zest in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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