Kitchen Essentials: Zester/Grater

Walking into a store like Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table can be an overwhelming experience. How do you know which tools you need to have in your kitchen and which are unnecessary and will forever be gathering dust? To help answer some of these questions, I’m starting this Kitchen Essentials column.

Ever wonder how restaurants get that fine dusting of chocolate onto the top of your dessert? How about how to get that fine lemon zest a recipe calls for?

Enter the zester! Developed initially by the company Microplane, as a new type of woodworking tool these hand graters can now be found manufactured by many different brands and are a real lifesaver in the kitchen.

How to Use a Zester

Run it over citrus to get that fine citrus zest you need, just make sure to only remove the skin, if you zest the white pith it is very bitter and not what you want.

Run some chocolate over it to create chocolate shavings that can be used to decorate plates or desserts.

Carefully rub whole cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom along the zester to get fresh ground spices.

You can even use it in savory cooking to grate cheese, garlic, or ginger finely.


If you don’t already have a zester, I highly recommend you run out and buy one. You’ll find it instantly useful in a myriad of ways.

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