Lemon juice or lemon zest?

I was watching Yotam Ottolenghi on telelvision today and something he said, struck a cord with me. He said lemon juice just tends to add acidity to a dish, but adding lemon zest, adds so much more.  Isn't that true!



The zest contains aromatic oils, which is where the real flavor and perfume of lemons comes from.  So don't try and substitute lemon zest for lemon juice.  You just won't get the flavor.



I still use juice in many recipes, but if I want a real lemon flavor, it has to have zest in it, for example when making my gluten free vegan lemon cheesecake,  as opposed to adding lemon juice to a savory dish.



If you are going to juice a lemon, zest it first - its much easier than trying to do two halves!  And use the zest immediately when it is most flavorful.

A great citrus you buy if you want a lot of zest is a Buddha's hand! They are all zest and no fruit pulp.  Just pull a finger off and zest it.  The Buddha's hand was traditionally used as a room freshener - for more info, check out my post on Buddha's hands!



Hands down (!) lemon zest is one of my favorite flavors. As we have 3 very prolific lemon trees, I use it a lot. What about you?  If you don't - give a go - using the zest for real flavor and the juice for acidity.
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New food of the week - Buddha's hand

My new food this week was a Buddha's hand citrus.


Quite a scary food from it's look. Would be good for halloween!

It is a citrus fruit but has very little flesh and is juiceless and often seedless.  The fruit is made up of fingerlike parts unto 12 inches long.

It is a fragrant fruit and used predominantly by the Chinese and Japanese as a room freshener.  Just place a Buddha's hand in the room and the fragrance perfumes the room.  It is also used for freshening the smell of clothing.

The fruit is also used as an offering in Buddhist temples.  Apparently, Buddha prefers the fingers to be more "closed" rather than as an open hand, to signify prayer.

As a food, just the peel is used.  The inner pith- the white part under the peel is not as bitter as pith on other citrus fruits so the fingers can be cut off and then sliced longitudinally - pith and all -  and used in salads or with fish dishes etc.


I decided that I'd use a microplane to get the zest off the fingers, and then dehydrate it for future use.  I used some of it on a salad and it had a lovely citrus flavor - not too sharp.


Next time I'll try a finger, whole!

Did you try a new food this week?
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