Do This to Make Lemon Zest More Savory.

Lemon bars, citrus smoothies, lemonade and the like may seem out of place during the winter months. But when the sun goes down at around 4:30 pm every day, I personally need some edible sunshine, whether it’s a pastry, a smoothie, or a glass of seasonally inappropriate lemonade. Most lemon-based recipes call for juice, zest, or both. The juice adds an obvious lemon flavor, but the zest adds subtler aromas and flavors thanks to the deliciously aromatic oils, and you want to extract those oils as efficiently as possible.

Microplanning does some of the work for you. Grinding the outermost layer of your lemon’s zest releases some of the flavor trapped in those cell walls, but according to this tip from Nigella Lawson’s website , a little sweet rubbing (literally) can extract even more:

If you’re baking with lemon zest (adding it to cakes, cookies, and even lemon curd), add the zest to the measured sugar and rub it in well – this will help release the oils better and enhance the flavor.

Besides baking, you can try this hack using old plain sugar and make a rash batch of lemon sugar to add to your tea or mash into softened cream cheese . You can also melt the resulting sugar with an equal amount of water to make a simple lemon smoothie syrup, or use it as the base for a very potent, flavorful lemonade. Likewise, I wouldn’t judge you for sprinkling a buttered flatbread or a plain piece of toast. (Cold and gray; let as much lemon sunshine into your life as possible.)

Don’t feel obligated to the classic lemon either. Meyer lemons, Buddha’s hand citron , and any other seasonal citrus will also benefit from this savory zest method.


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