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Handheld citrus press & microplanes

Whether you are baking, making salad dressing or a quinoa pilaf, citrus juice and zest gives food an extra flavor kick. There are two tools that simplify preparing citrus juice and zest:  the handheld citrus press and microplanes.

Handheld citrus press

Prior to discovering the handheld citrus press, I was a big fan of the citrus reamer. I used to buy the little wooden tools in bulk and give them as gifts. Then I discovered the even easier to use handheld citrus press. They are made by a number of companies and come in aluminum and stainless steal. The ones I use come in three enamel-coated, color-coded sizes:  orange, lemon and lime. You cut your citrus in half, lay it in the press, close and squeeze. It takes much less effort than a reamer and the press catches most of the seeds, all in one step. To maximize the amount of juice, it is important to use the right size press. You can find a variety of citrus presses on Amazon.com.

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Microplane citrus zester

Zesting using the old school stand-up metal box graters was for the birds. You used the side with the fine grate, typically rubbed off a knuckle or two, got a lot of bitter pith with your zest, and had a hard time digging out the zest from the cracks and crevices of the grater.  Fortunately we now have microplane zesters that do the job in an instant, save your knuckles and create beautiful, fluffy, pith-free bits of zest. Many companies make microplane-like zesters, but the original is Microplane.

Beautiful zest in an instant.

 

Tips for juicing and zesting citrus

  • Wash your fruit.
  • If you are zesting and juicing, zest first, juice second.
  • Before pressing, use the old bartender's trick and roll your fruit between the counter and your hand, pressing to soften the insides. This will help you get the maximum juice out of your fruit.
  • Alternatively, prick the citrus with a fork and microwave for 20 seconds to a minute before juicing.

 Zest makes a lot of recipes better

Now that you have a great tool for zesting citrus you will find zest literally adds sext to many dishes.  Lime zest makes a big flavor difference in Puamana coconut rice.

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