14 February 2008

Remove orange zest

Sometimes beauty is only skin deep – the zest of one orange can add pizazz to everything from cakes to cocktails.

Step 1: Using a vegetable peeler or a small sharp paring knife, remove the rind and white pith from the orange.

Step 2: Carefully slide the paring knife between the rind and the pith to separate. Discard pith. (It's best to remove the pith as it can taste quite bitter.)

Step 3: Slice the rind into long, thin strips and use as desired.Step 4: Alternatively, run a citrus zester down the length of the orange, removing the rind in long, thin strips. (Citrus zesters are available from specialty kitchen stores.)

Juicy citrus facts & tips

1. Orange zest can be frozen for up to six months. Seal in a plastic bag and store in the freezer.

2. You should be able to obtain three to four teaspoons of grated zest from one medium-sized orange (slightly more if the zest is cut into thin strips).

3. Orange zest not only adds flavour to dishes, it also makes a pretty decoration. Candied zest (which has been boiled in sugar syrup, then spread out to dry) is great sprinkled over cakes and muffins, while fresh zest looks nice floating in a fruit punch or cocktail.

4. Orange peel is also used to make fragrances and liqueurs (such as Cointreau).

5. One orange will supply you with enough vitamin C to last two-and-a-half days.

6. Orange peel and pith are rich sources of pectin (a soluble fibre that scientists believe helps lower cholesterol) and flavonoids (potent anti-oxidants). Pectin is also what makes jam jell. This is why orange marmalade sets so well and a thickening agent may need to be added to preserves made from other fruits.


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