Confession: lemon is my favorite flavor in the dessert realm so I have given it much attention and consideration in order to make the most of it.
The aromatic oils reside in the colored portion of the citrus fruit. Use liquid dish detergent and a scrubby to remove any coating, which will be bitter. Rinse well and dry before zesting. When zesting, avoid removing the bitter white pith. A microplane is the ideal tool to produce finely grated zest.
Juice: 3 to 4 tablespoons
Zest: 1-1/4 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons
But what happens when you need a few tablespoons of zest but not the juice?
Perfect Solution: Perfect Purée of Napa Valley: 35 ounces/992 grams
The lemon zest (only the colored portion and not the pith) is finely minced and mixed with sugar so it will keep frozen for more than a year. Not only is it quick and easy to use, it is always at the ready.
Since it contains 50% sugar, you will need double the weight of the zest called for in the recipe and I like to remove the extra sugar from the recipe itself. Example: for a recipe requiring 12 grams of zest, use 24 grams of Perfect Purée of Napa Valley zest and remove 12 grams of sugar from the recipe.
The sugar makes the mixture soft and a bit syrupy which is easy to scoop out even when frozen. If mixing it into dough, such as for scones, or cake batter, it works well to add some of the flour or dry ingredients and whirl it in a food processor for a few seconds to mix it in evenly.
If you live in New York City, Kalustyan’s carries this and other Perfect Purée of Napa Valley products. Alternatively, you can order directly from the producer: