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Orange zest

I know it's a pretty simple thing, but I've never been able to get a handle on this. I'm making this recipe tonight and the orange zest part is freaking me out. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

Does anyone have any tips on a good way to execute this? If it was just supposed to be grated, I might be able to get it done, but this absolutely blows my mind. :( I know, I sound like an idiot. But I'm good at most things. Really!

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  1. You can accomplish the task with a simple box grater or microplaneer. There are also small hand held tools that will get the job done...the latter, usually used by commercial bars for drinks.

    1. I just read the link you provided. To accomplish this task.....all you need to do is to take the two oranges and cut off the top and bottom of each so you have a flat surface to begin with. Take your paring or vegetable knife, and from top to bottom, make the thinnest possible cut of orange rind with minimal inside white/rind.....just like lemon twists used for Martinis. Lay the cuts down and make your julienne slices.

      This is actually the easiest and least messy way to do this.

      2 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        Cool! Sounds simple enough. Thank you for your help. :)

      2. use a micro plane or a box grater, make sure to only grate the orange part not the white underneath the orange.

        1. I use a vegetable peeler, aiming for long cuts from top to bottom without the pith. Then I line the long pieces on the board, and julienne. When you julienne, have the outside down. The inside is less slick so you can have better knife control.

          And the best news? It is cranberry relish! I will taste great even with some bad knife cuts. [The orange, not your fingers.]

          3 Replies
            1. re: smtucker

              While I agree that the interior on fruits and vegetables are softer and easier to begin the cuts.e.g., tomatoes and peppers.....I disagree on the knife skills. Most knife skill classes will tell you to always create a flat spot so the item cannot roll. The flat spot does not allow the strips to shift or move, thus maintaining control of the knife. In this case, the inside rind cut is flat and any sharp knife should do the task easily.

              With the citrus rind specific....the skin is slick and has oil in it so it is more prone to sliding. The inside rind would not have the save concerns as the porous nature of the rind would grab the cutting board.


              1. re: smtucker

                A serrated vegetable peeler (Messermeister's superb one is under $10) makes super-thin slices of peel with barely a molecule of pitch. It's magic on peaches and tomatoes, too. In his recent Essential Pepin series, Jacques used one, saying that he only discovered the tool recently and marveled at how beautifully is works.

              2. Using a grater or microplane will give you the taste but not the more substantial texture of julienne. Fourunder suggests the way forward upthread - more fiddly than grating but a better end product.

                1. What the recipe is doing is a quick candied orange peel and ginger in the relish. It will give a bitter orange undertone to the recipe.

                  I candy citrus zest often and have found that if you juice the oranges first (cut in half and squeeze), then cut the squeezed halves into 1/2 to 1 inch strips (or whatever you find easiest in the next step), you can lay those strips flat, pit side up, and with a very sharp knife, held almost horizontally, remove the white pith right down to the orange part of the peel. It may be just me, but if there is a quantity to do, this technique is easier on my hands.

                  After the pith is removed, you can julienne the strips or leave them wide.

                  If you want to reduce the bitterness in the peel, bring a small pot of water to the boil, throw in the peel and simmer for a couple of minutes. Remove peel, discard water, repeat.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jammy

                    I guess it's a matter of preference, because the way you're describing sounds much more difficult than the peeler method! But if fourunder's way doesn't work for me, I'll try this next time.

                    1. re: Kontxesi

                      Below is a video showing my suggestion for removing rinds or skins....although the video is for a melon, the method is the same. You can advance to the 1:17 mark to see the tutorial.

                      You will definitely get a cleaner cut with a knife, rather than a vegetable peeler. The less white pith, the less bitter the relish will be.



                  2. I'd just grate it with a microplane.