What is lemon zest?

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Lemon zest is the outer rind of the lemon fruit.  In the field of cooking and baking, the outer rind of citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are valued for their aroma and flavor.  Some people prefer to have them peeled in long strips along with the other parts of the fruit’s outer cover or skin while others choose grated lemon zest for many food preparations.  The zest of lemons and other citrus fruits is desired because it contains the largest concentration of essential oils that provide the greatest citrus flavor and aroma.  When the whole lemon peel is used, the inner part with white fibers of the fruit may give a bitter taste.  With this concern, only the outer part of the peel or the zest is taken in very thin strips through the use of a peeler, zester, or sharp knife.

The best thing about lemon zest is that its aroma and flavor is strong enough to provide a citrus twist to a certain recipe like a cupcake or ice cream for example.  A small amount of grated lemon zest is enough to add another element of flavor to a certain dish.  A small amount of zest also does not throw off or disrupt the main flavor of the dish or recipe. The lemon zest is added for flavor and aroma enhancement and effectively does so with just a small amount.

Aside from its common use as citrus flavoring, lemon zest also contains calcium and vitamin C as with the fruit’s flesh.  Calcium is a known helpful ingredient in terms of promoting bone health.  Vitamin C is also a great anti-oxidant for the body helping it stay healthy and shielded against possible disease or infection. The flavanoid content in lemon zests are also known to help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood leading to a healthier heart.  Citrus foods like lemons also contain citric acid and this substance is also present in the fruit’s zest or rind.  Citric Acid combats possible problems associated with Vitamin C deficiency like gum problems and bleeding in the gums.

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