Flip Your Zester Upside Down And Double It As A Lemon Juicer

Let's face it, many of us don't have space in our kitchens for single-purpose gadgets and appliances. And really, the trinkets we use should be able to perform multiple, other tasks in order to earn their keep.

Fortunately, such is the case for the tool we use to zest a lemon for classy cocktail garnishes. Not only can you use it to zest various citrus fruits, thereby adding zippy flavor to any dish or drink, but you can also use it as a juicer. As opposed to the standard handheld lemon juicer, which works somewhat similarly to a nutcracker, the rasp-style zester works more like a strainer. This method requires a bit of strength, as you'll have to roll and squeeze the lemon by hand, but the tool will catch any seeds or pulp that fall.

You could potentially also press a lemon against the gadget to release the juices, but you'll want to make sure the zester is actually upside down. Otherwise, you risk cutting yourself on the grate.

Using your zester to make lemon zest and juice

Knowing you can use a single kitchen tool to both zest and juice a fruit is one thing; putting it into practice is another thing entirely. With that being said, the rasp-style zester is a fairly simple tool to cross-utilize. To try it as a zester, simply hold a clean lemon (or other citrus fruit) in one hand, with the tool in your other hand. Gently rub the lemon against the grate, taking care to scrape off only the brightly-colored outside. Stop when you reach the white layer, as this part is rather bitter. The shavings can then be added to just about any recipe to enhance flavor and bring a bit of freshness — even a whimsical lemon sorbet cocktail.

To add a bright note of flavor without altering the texture of a recipe, you can use your zester to juice a lemon as described above. For the best results, first cut the lemon lengthwise into wedges to stop it from spraying lemon juice everywhere. Then, squeeze the lemon over the zester, letting it catch any pulp or seeds. This method is great for adding a dash of lemon juice to vinaigrettes, making homemade lemonade, or zhuzhing up a vodka shot without introducing pulp to the mix.

Use your zester to grate other ingredients

Although you've likely purchased a rasp-style zester to use with citrus fruits, this tool can also be used in many other ways. For instance, it can be a grater for hard cheeses like Parmigiana Reggiano, Grana Padano, and Pecorino. This multipurpose tool can also help you grate or mince countless other common ingredients like garlic, ginger, even whole spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. 

To get even more use out of your zester, you can apply this tool to the realm of desserts. For instance, if you have a batch of cookies with burnt bottoms, you can use a rasp-style zester to gently remove the charred parts. Similarly, you can use the gadget to trim down the edges of an uneven cake, or, even better, take some chocolate to the tool for a delicious shaved topping on baked goods.

You can also use a zester with frozen fruit for hassle-free shaved ice — in the same way you'd shave hard cheeses or whole spices, you can do so with frozen berries, lemons, or watermelon. And, you can easily clean your zester by rubbing it with a slice of lemon, as its acidity will cut through particles or grease with no problem. Rinse with hot water, and you're good to use it again and again.