Citrus zest is a fantastic way to get a lot of flavor into a recipe. The zest is the colorful skin of citrus fruit and it is packed with flavorful essential oils. Recipes that use zest can be anything from pies to muffins to savory dishes. Most of those recipes call for a specific quantity of zest, but don’t specify how much fruit you need to produce the required amount. In the picture above, you can see a variety of citrus fruit arranged by size, from a lime to a pomelo. The exact amount of fruit you need for any given amount of zest will still vary, but these guidelines should help give you a general idea of how much fruit you need to pick up to make any particular recipe.
- 1 Key Lime = 1 tsp zest
- 1 Lime (Persian Lime) = 1 – 2 tsp zest
- 1 Meyer Lemon = 2 tsp zest
- 1 Lemon (Eureka Lemon) = 1 tbsp zest
- 1 Tangerine = 2-3 tsp zest
- 1 Orange (any variety) = 1 – 1 1/2 tbsp zest
- 1 Grapefruit = 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp zest
- 1 Buddha’s Hand = 1 tbsp zest (but you may need to be creative about zesting, due to the shape)
- 1 Pomelo – 2 tbsp zest
Can the fruit be preserved after zesting?
Once your citrus fruit has been zested, it will start to dry out. To keep the juice fresh, wrap the zested citrus in plastic wrap or tuck it into a ziploc bag. You can keep the citrus at room temperature for a day or so, but might want to transfer it to the fridge if you plan to keep it longer than that. Fortunately, many recipes will use both the juice and the zest, so you won’t always have leftover citrus to use up after zesting.