I saw a recipe that asked for Lime Zest and was wondering what it was?


2 Answers 2


The very thin outside layer of the Lime, Lemon, Orange, and other citrus. It contains aromatic and flavorful oils that will enhance your meals.

When you zest your citrus fruit (usually with a fine grater) you need make sure that you only pull off the zest and not the white pith that lies underneath. The pith is bitter and generally not something you want in your dish.

  • 4
    The pith is the white stuff underneath the colored, plasticy outer layer. Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 17:05
  • To get zest (always make fresh), use one of these: amazon.com/Microplane-40020-Grater-Zester/dp/B00004S7V8 Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 19:49
  • I had a lemon pie that was topped with lemon zest, but it just tasted so bitter - I haven't attempted to use any zest since. I guess some of the pith came with it.
    – Jeffrey
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 13:12

It's the colorful outer layer of the peel. The white part is the pith, and you don't want that as it imparts bitterness.

You can remove the zest by using the part of a cheese grater that you would use for parmesian cheese. If you're really careful, you can also use a vegetable peeler, but it's difficult to avoid the pith.

  • 8
    The best tool of all is a Microplane - a very small investment that you will never regret as it is fantastic with hard cheese, chocolate and ginger as well. Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 17:05
  • Or a very sharp knife. I actually find the very sharp knife the easiest thing to use and avoid the pith, because then I can exactly control the depth to which I cut. Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 17:06
  • This is what a microplane looks like.
    – hobodave
    Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 17:09
  • 1
    I prefer a zesting tool to a grater, even a micro plane. Like this.
    – Sam Holder
    Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 17:20
  • 1
    You can use a vegetable peeler, the trick is to flip it over, pith side up, and take a small knife and scrape off the pith before you add it to the dish.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 9, 2010 at 19:24

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