Which zester is best?
Many baking, cooking and cocktail recipes will often call for lemon, lime or orange zest, which can be difficult to achieve without a proper zester. If you want to be able to add unique and refreshing flavors to elevate your meals and drinks, investing in a high-quality zester is essential.
There are numerous zester options available, though some will provide more consistent and desirable results depending on style, hole size and other additional features. As one of the top choices, the Microplane Premium Classic Zester/Grater offers professional-level zesting at an affordable price.
What to know before you buy a zester
There are two main styles of zester to choose from.
Traditional zesters are shorter and usually feature a curved metal tip, complete with a single row of holes at the end. This zester is used more like a peeler, scraping along the surface of the citrus, or other food items, and removing strips of zest.
A grater-style zester employs the same principle as a standard food or cheese grater and sports a longer metal shaft perforated with numerous small holes. These are often quicker to use and can also be used on a variety of different foods.
One of the downsides of a zester is that they aren’t always the easiest item to clean. Because of all the small holes, zest and citrus rinds will often get stuck, leaving food residue behind. Look for a zester that is either dishwasher safe or features a relatively easy-to-clean surface so you won’t be left with a dirty utensil each time you use it.
Different hole sizes produce different results. The smaller the holes, the finer the zest will be, while larger holes will produce large strips and pieces, adding a level of texture. Depending on how you intend to use your zester and what your favorite recipes call for, choose a model with appropriately sized holes.
What to look for in a quality zester
Having a handle that you can easily grip without it slipping or shifting in your hand is a plus. Zesters with an ergonomically designed handle will make it easier to zest larger items and larger quantities. Most zester handles will be made of plastic, wood or metal, but some may feature a rubberized portion for maximum control and comfort.
Proper storage of your zester is vital for keeping it in pristine condition, helping to prevent any rust or damage. If you’d prefer to hang your zester, look for a model with a loop at the base of the handle. This will allow you to keep your zester out of a cramped drawer filled with other kitchenware and utensils.
Other zesters may come equipped with a protective sheath or covering to keep it sharp and secure. If you plan on storing it in a drawer, having a sheath can also help prevent injuries when reaching for the blade.
Zesters used specifically for cocktails may even sport a built-in channel knife. This handy feature will allow you to shave off a thicker piece of orange or lemon peel to use as a creative garnish for your homemade cocktails.
How much you can expect to spend on a zester
Many zesters are relatively inexpensive, with most models typically costing between $5-$15. Some high-end options may run slightly higher.
Can I use my zester for cheese?
A. Yes, a typical zester will work well on hard cheeses, such as parmesan and pecorino, as a way to add a tasty topping to pasta, salads and other dishes. For softer cheeses, you may want to purchase a grater with larger holes.
Can a zester be sharpened?
A. Most zesters can not be sharpened, which is why it is important to take proper care of them in order to avoid any unnecessary dulling, corrosion or other damage to the blades. High-quality 18/10 stainless steel will keep a sharp edge much longer than lower-quality materials.
What’s the best zester to buy?
What you need to know: This ultra-sharp zester is made for those who want a top-quality product designed for its functionality and precision.
What you’ll love: The rust-free surgical grade stainless steel won’t dull quickly and is even magnetic, allowing it to be hung on a magnetic knife strip for easy access. Though it features an easy-to-clean design, it is also completely dishwasher safe.
What you should consider: The blade on this zester can be slightly too long for some users.
Top zester for the money
What you need to know: The OXO Good Grips Zester is a top budget-friendly option that produces a fine zest.
What you’ll love: Manufactured by a trusted brand, this zester has a non-slip foot for safe and efficient zesting as well as a snap-on cover to keep the blade sharp and protected when not in use. The comfortable handle makes it easy to grip.
What you should consider: The small holes can take some time to clean for those without a dishwasher.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This affordable stainless steel zester works well on fruits as well as cheese, chocolate, spices and more.
What you’ll love: The lightweight build and easy-to-grip handle make this a popular choice for bakers and chefs. It is also dishwasher safe and includes a protective snap-on cover that doubles as a collection tray to keep your zesting and grating neat and mess-free.
What you should consider: The protective plastic cover can sometimes become stuck.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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