I don’t just love using oranges and lemons and limes. I love using ALL of them (okay, maybe sans the pith). It is sheer pride and all smiles when I use both the rind and the juice from one of my citrus friends. I feel so responsible, so deliberate in my optimization of the fruit; sure that using zest minimizes my contribution to overall waste. Every bit helps right?
Maybe it doesn’t help that much, but truth be told I think the zest and the juice are both equally essential in their kitchen contribution. It is just as much a shame not to use the zest, as it would be not to use the juice. When at my sister’s house over the holidays she said she had 12 naked limes in her fridge. They had been zested for a lovely white chocolate mousse lime pie (recipe follows, attribution unknown). But their juice had nowhere to go. Enter myself and the Christmas Kazi. Those limes found a very happy home indeed. The juice ‘juiced us all’.
As for lemons, I make limoncella with 15 lemons a batch, using every scratch of zest I can find. Long, thick pith-less strips of lemon zest marry vodka for 80 days to make a miracle aperitif. In the summer I use all the juice to make from-scratch lemonade. If I don’t have immediate need for the lemon juice—applies to lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.—I put the juice in ice cube trays and freeze the Tablespoons of juice for later (think cocktail, salad dressing, less-brown fruit slices, coffee maker cleaning). Unfortunately, zest itself doesn’t keep well unless, of course, you candy it.
Then there are those lovely examples of using both the zest and juice together at once: in salads, with fish, for orange rolls, green beans and broccoli. I am sure there are many more great zest-and-juice ideas out there: I would love to hear them all!
White Chocolate Mousse Lime Pie
2 cups crushed ginger snaps
1 Tbsp. sugar
Â¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
Â¼ cup melted butter
3 blocks cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
Zest of 30 limes
12 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Â½ cup heavy cream
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
6 T lime juice
2 cups heavy cream whipped with 1 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla to soft peaks
Press crust mixture into spring form pan. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes and cool. Melt white chocolate in microwave (30 seconds, stir like mad, 30 seconds, stir like mad). Once melted, mix in ½ cup heavy cream, cool slightly. Soften gelatin in lime juice, blend cream cheese, sugar, and lime zest in large bowl. Add gelatin to chocolate mixture. Add all this to cream cheese mixture. Fold in the two cups of whipped cream. Pour into cooled crust. Garnish with extra shaved white chocolate and refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night (better).
Note: establishing your ‘favorite’ juicer/reamer is essential to maximizing your citrus experience; take a few side by side to find your favorite… you might be surprised. I have tried the yellow and green press from William Sonoma, the wooden classic reamer, antique glass juicers and coveted more expensive juicers—though there is something nice about putting some muscle into it. My current favorite is the stainless steel version I bought at William Sonoma. It completely keeps out all those seeds—especially in an epic war with piles of lemons proud of seed-spitting when you least expect it. My least favorite was the William Sonoma yellow lever version: beautiful to look at but juice squirting everywhere but the intended bowl below (and it didn’t extract enough juice in my opinion). Find your favorite juicer and zester and have at it!