I'm about the share with you one of the techniques I use in the kitchen that I might have invented myself. Most things to do with cooking someone somewhere has done before, but when you don't have the knowledge of it, it seems reasonable to take some credit for it. This is a tip I'm pretty proud of it as it came so naturally to me when I found myself doing it and makes such sense. I'm resistant to give it away to the world, but in the spirit of blogging and sharing and teaching I think it is the right thing.
If you grate anything in the kitchen, you likely have a microplane grater, or you should. If you've ever zested a lemon or orange you know what a dream is is with this tool. I hate to waste precious zest, but often you leave behind an awful lot of the stuff on the zester. And I just can't bare it.
This technique doesn't work in all applications I'll admit, but is used whenever you are making a lemon (or any citrus) based dish that also includes sugar. Many recipes using sugar and zest will tell you to rub the zest and sugar together. This further distributes the valuable oils in the sugar. But next time instead of zesting and then simply sprinkling the zest on top, do this instead:
Holding the grater over your bowl of sugar, grate the zest in. When finished, hold the grater in the bowl, scoop some of the sugar with your hands and rub it all over the grater wherever there is zest clinging. Be sure to move your finger in same direction as the tiny blades on the sharp side, otherwise you'll be rubbing nasty skin cells into your zesty sugar mixture. The dry sugar will carry away the zest with it into the bowl. You will not lose a speck of zest, the grater will be practically clean, AND, the best part: the sugar will carry the valuable lemon oil that has coated the grater. Continue rubbing the sugar and zest together until it seems slightly wet. Presto! The most intensely flavoured sugar for your dish.
It's going to be hard to top this tip, but I promise to try. Now, go, zest away!