Food

How to Zest an Orange. Or a Lemon. Or a Lime.

It’s not like grating cheese.

Cranberry bread with cream cheese.
Zest an orange wrong, and your cranberry bread may end up too bitter.

Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo for Slate

Citrus zest shows up in recipes more often than usual this time of year. Gingerbread, fruitcake, stollen, and various other holiday treats usually call for a little grated lemon or orange peel to add a subtle citrus flavor.

But you can’t just go at it like you’re grating a hunk of cheddar. You have to keep a few things in mind to maximize the flavor of your citrus zest and prevent bitterness. Slate’s food and drink editor shows you how.

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For one of the best ways to employ orange zest, check out Slate’s recipe for cranberry bread.

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