Best Zesters: Microplane Zester
Microplane zester is a type of sharp knife blade with a small cutting edge which is used for slicing or mincing meat. They are usually made from stainless steel but they can also be produced out of other materials such as titanium, brass, aluminium and even plastic. The blades are often available in different lengths so that one may choose the right size to suit their needs.
The name microplane comes from the fact that it is only a few millimetres wide at its widest point. These knives are designed to cut through thin slices of meat without damaging the delicate internal organs. The term ‘micro’ refers to the tiny size of these knives; in fact, some manufacturers have gone so far as to claim that their blades are “only” 0.2mm thick!
They come in various shapes and sizes. Some are flat, others have a serrated edge, while still others feature a rounded tip. There are also knives with no handle at all, just a sharpened edge.
All of them are designed to provide the most precise cuts possible when chopping up meat into smaller pieces.
What makes microplane zesters special?
First of all, they’re very easy to use because they don’t require any skill or dexterity whatsoever! No matter how much force you apply, the blade is always exposed to the exact same degree.
This type of knife is also very precise. Its sharp edge can easily cut through the toughest of meats, yet will leave your meat deliciously juicy at the same time! No other knife does this: Not even an electric grater, regardless of what its manufacturers may claim.
Why You Need a Zester
Actually, you probably don’t need one at all. But zesters can be useful when preparing certain foods. They’re especially handy when you want to add the natural, tangy taste of lemon or orange peel to your food.
Decorative dishes such as cakes and pastries are also greatly improved by the addition of finely grated lemon or orange rind. This is why so many recipes call for the cook to ‘add zest’.
Because of their small size and ease of use, some people use zesters as an alternative to garlic presses. But they can also be used to grate other foods, such as nutmeg. If you’ve ever tried to grate nutmeg, you’ll know that it’s practically a job for a hammer drill!
A nutmeg grater will quickly and easily solve this problem.
Zesters are also perfect for preparing hard cheeses. With the right grater, you can quickly prepare blocks of hard cheese such as parmesan, pecorino or gruyere for cooking or just for a delicious snack.
Many professional cooks swear by zesters for adding natural flavour and finesse to all types of food. With the right tool, you’ll be able to create fine strands of zest, which are edible and have a wonderful taste.
How to Choose a Zester
Before choosing a zester, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
Do I want a fine grater or a coarse grater?
This is the most important decision you’ll need to make.
Should I choose a manual or electric model?
Manual zesters are cheaper and more reliable in most cases, but some people prefer the speed and convenience that an electric grater offers. It’s up to you which one you choose.
How many teeth does it have?
Zesters usually have anywhere from 3 to 10 teeth, but no matter what the model or price, the more teeth a zester has, the better it will be at grating.
What material is the grater plate made from?
Stainless steel is the most common material for a good reason: It doesn’t rust and lasts forever! Be sure not to buy a plastic zester, as they are not durable and will only break after a few uses.
Where is the handle?
Some zesters have handles attached at a right angle to the grater, while other models have them at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that you can easily grip and turn the zester, no matter what angle the handle is attached at.
What size is the hole in the bottom of the bowl?
The larger the hole, the less work you’ll have to do when cleaning the zester after use.
What else does it do?
Some models can double as cheese graters or nutmeg graters. If you don’t want multiple kitchen tools taking up space, make sure you buy a multifunctional tool!
Manual or Electric Zester – Which One Should You Choose?
Manual and electric zesters both have their advantages. Manual models are generally cheaper, lighter and take up less space. They’re easier to use, too: Simply hold the zester in your hand and push the sharp grating teeth against the food.
Electric zesters are faster and easier to use than manual models. You simply press a button or turn a dial to select how much of the surface to grate off, then hold the appliance against the food and push a button!
Manual zesters are better if you want precise grating: You can exert as much pressure as you want and remove the zester when you have the desired thickness. Electric zesters are better if you want to grate a lot of food in a short space of time.
Other Materials – Which is Best?
The popular choice for a zester is stainless steel. This is for good reason: Stainless steel doesn’t rust or react with anything and lasts forever. Other popular choices are aluminum and plastic models, both of which are light and easy to use.
Stainless-steel zesters tend to be durable, long-lasting and very reliable. Aluminum zesters are also very durable, but they may react with certain foods, such as lemon or vinegar. Plastic zesters are the most affordable and least durable.
Sharpness – What’s the Deal?
How sharp are the teeth of the grating surface?
The sharper the teeth, the easier it will be to zest and the less effort you’ll need to apply. Being able to grate quickly allows you to add fresh lemon, lime or orange flavoring without having the hold the fruit and squish it.
Most manual and electric zesters have very sharp teeth, so you can grate with minimal effort. Manual zesters with blunt teeth require more effort to grate.
How Much Does it Cost?
Manual zesters are the cheapest option available, as they cost less than $20. Most manual zesters have blunt teeth and require more effort to grate, so they’re not ideal for people who want to grate a lot of citrus fruit quickly. They’re designed for people who want to add lemon or lime juice to their cooking without any effort.
Manual zesters with sharp teeth cost between $20 and $30. Most of these models also come with a dedicated container that doubles as a cover and a grated-zest holder, which makes it easy to store the zest without it going all over the place.
Electric zesters range from $20 to $70. Most electric zesters can grate a lot of food in a short space of time. These are best for people who want to grate a lot of citrus quickly, without needing to apply much force.
Where Can You Buy One?
Most homeware stores stock at least one type of zester, such as Bed Bath and Beyond and Sur La Table. If you’re looking for a specific type of zester, then these stores are good places to search.
Specialty kitchen stores, such as Fleurish and Amazon also stock various types of zesters. If you already have a specific type in mind, then it might be best to search for it on one of these sites.
If you’re willing to buy a zester online, then search for “zester” on Amazon or browse the selection on Sur La Table.
How Can You Save Money?
If you’re willing to buy a manual zester, then you can find cheaper options at your nearest homeware store. Many stores that sell manual citrus juicers also stock cheaper manual zesters.
If you’re willing to buy an electric zester, then consider buying a cheap one on eBay. You can sometimes find good-quality electric zesters for less than $20 on eBay. Be sure to read the seller feedback and product reviews before you buy.
How Can You Make the Most of Your Zester?
If you’re not going to use your zester often, then it might be best to keep it in a drawer. Zesters take up little space and are very lightweight, so they’re easy to store. Plus, they have holes on the top where you can hang them up if you prefer.
Sources & references used in this article:
Zesters by L Chalfant, CW McGuyer, CR Grace – US Patent App. 12/522,939, 2010 – Google Patents
Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes by H McGee – 2010 – books.google.com
The Bartender’s Best Friend: A Complete Guide to Cocktails, Martinis, and Mixed Drinks by MH Regan – 2008 – books.google.com
The Raw Food Primer by C Silvestre – 2015 – Comet Content Providers
Professional obsolescence and continuing professional development in higher education by SA Ferrara – 2003 – books.google.com