|When you grate citrus zest, it is important to get just the thin colored layer on the outside of the skin--and not the spongy, sometimes bitter layer of pith beneath. From the cook's standpoint this is because all the flavor is in that colored portion, called the zest, where the fruit's flavorful oils reside. From a health standpoint, the citrus oils also contain a chemical compound called limonene, which research suggests may deactivate certain carcinogens.
When we first met the Microplane zester we thought it looked like a file that had very muched escaped from someone's basement workshop. So when we took it for a test drive, we were sure it was just going to hack the lemon peel to bits. Instead, with what appeared to be absolutely no effort on our part, the zester scraped off the most delicate tendrils of lemon zest. We fell in love.
Developed by two engineer brothers, this razor-sharp stainless steel zester actually started life as a woodworking tool (aha, so we weren't wrong!). A home cook discovered its other, culinary, use, and the Microplane file became the Microplane zester.
The reason the zester works so incredibly well is that its grating holes are not punched out but are formed by a process called photo-etching, which produces edges that never dull and easily slice through food instead of tearing or shredding.
Grace Manufacturing, Inc. uses this photo-etching process to make a couple of different styles of Microplane tools. The grater/zester model shown here has an 8" x 1" grating surface and an ergonomic handle. It retails for about $12. A larger bladed version (12" x 1-1/4"), with no handle, is available for about $10. (The company also makes a coarse greater that can handle such things as hard cheeses and chocolate.)
For more information or dealer inquiries, Please call 1-800-555-2767.
Author: the Healing Kitchen staff
Date Published: 1/14/2000
Date Reviewed: 6/20/2011
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