Adding Zest
lemon zest

Lemon zest can perk up a sugar cookie recipe or a mixed drink.

David Muir/Getty Images

Lemon zest is a popular ingredient used for its strong citrus flavor, which comes from the oils secreted in the peel. It's typically applied as a garnish, and depending on what the recipe calls for, lemon zest can be minced or cut into long strips.

To make lemon zest, simply grind up the colored portion of a lemon peel or thinly slice it using a sharp knife or a peeler. Be sure to avoid the white pith underside, which is bitter and will give whatever food it's added to an unpleasant aftertaste. If you're having trouble peeling the rind or plan make a lot of lemon zest, you can pick up a tool called a zester to help.

Did You Know? Zests from oranges and limes also lend great flavors to cooking.