Rather than simply throwing the skin of a lemon away as most people do, utilizing it during cooking is a great way to add a rich lemony zing to any dish.
This all-natural flavor boost is often paired with lighter dishes such as fish or chicken, and it's also heavily used in preparing different kinds of desserts.
Zesting the lemon skin is the best way to create a subtle and practical ingredient that can seamlessly be introduced to a dish without leaving your guest chewing on large chunks of lemon.
While there are specific zesting tools available that make this process extremely quick and simple, there are some great alternatives, such as the cheese grater.
We are going to explain the most prominent technique of how to zest a lemon with a cheese grater in place of a zester alongside associated health benefits of lemon zest and some other great tips.
What Is the Common Way of Zesting Lemons?
Zesters come in a variety of shapes and sizes but typically come in two different designs. One is incredibly similar to a conventional cheese grater and the second being a series of somewhere between four to eight cutting holes running in parallel at the end of a prong. This second type of zester works by pressing and dragging the utensil over the skin of the lemon whereas the type more similar to a cheese grater works by pressing and dragging the lemon against the utensil.
How to Zest a Lemon with a Cheese Grater?
Now, the type of cheese grater you have will ultimately affect the technique that you apply when zesting a lemon.
With handheld graters, the best method is to place the end of the grater onto a chopping board and then raising the handle to about 45 degrees. You'll need to have a firm and secure grip on the grater as you'll be pressing down onto it with the lemon.
Once you're happy with how you're holding the grater, you'll need to run the lemon down across the grater to slice off the skin. Repeat that process on each segment of the lemon until there's no zest left and you can see nothing but the white pith underneath.
Box graters work in a similar method since you'll be pressing the lemon against the grater as you slide it along the cutting platform. However, you will be positioning the grater differently.
Box graters have four cutting sides, and more often than not, you'll want to choose the finest side to produce the smallest possible strips of zest. You'll then lay the grater down with this side facing up.
When grating, you'll be moving the lemon in a horizontal direction, and all of the zest will be contained inside the grater. This allows you to transfer the zest to a more appropriate container easily.
What Are the Health Benefits of Lemon Zest?
Not only does lemon zest add a great lemony pop to your dishes but it also offers some incredible health benefits and some of which are discussed below.
Promotes Good Bone Health
Lemon zest contains high quantities of both calcium and vitamin C which aid in the improvement and maintenance of healthy bones. This makes lemon zest great for helping prevent common bone diseases such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis.
Supports Heart Health
Again, vitamin C comes into play with a single lemon containing approximately 31mg, which results in around 51% of your recommended daily intake. The fibers and plant compounds also help your heart health by lowering the chances of heart disease while also lowering your blood cholesterol levels.
Helps Reduce Toxins
Our bodies are rife with toxic elements due to the increase in consumption of food and drink that are harmful to our health. Lemon peels contain citrus bioflavonoids that help to rid our bodies of these unwanted toxins.
Aids in the Prevention of Cancer
Lemon zest also contains salvestrol Q40 and limonene which both help fight the development of cancerous cells in our bodies.
Helps in Weight Control
There are a few substances found in lemons that have fat-fighting capabilities. Firstly, soluble pectin fibers found in lemons expand in your stomach, helping to deliver a fuller feeling. Hot water with lemon is also a common weight control aid, as drinking water helps to temporarily boost calories burned, which is then enhanced with the help of the lemon.
Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Citric acid is known to help prevent the development of kidney stones by increasing both urine volume alongside the urine pH level, creating an environment more hostile towards kidney stones. Around 1/2 a cup of lemon juice per day can produce enough citric acid to prevent these stones from forming.
Not only does lemon zest deliver some fantastically tasting dishes, whether it be a subtle note added to a delicate piece of salmon or a citrus pop found in lemon drizzle cake, but it also offers some fantastic health benefits. Adding more lemon zest to your dishes can only be a good thing, and as long as you have a cheese grater at home, then you can do this with ease!
Hopefully, after reading this article, you already know exactly how to zest a lemon with a cheese grater that you have at home.