There are some kitchen tasks we’ve done so many times, we take them for granted, never stopping to wonder if there’s a better way. But often, years after we first cooked a dish in a certain way, we learn that we’ve been doing it all wrong. For instance, our parents always told us to add a glug of oil to the pot when cooking pasta, but later in life, we learned that this can actually keep the sauce from sticking to our noodles. It turns out throwing a piece of spaghetti at the wall and seeing if it sticks is also not the most reliable method of checking to see if pasta is done…who knew! Then there are the tools we’ve used for a long time, never imagining that there was a different way. We recently learned that we’d been using our salad spinner all wrong, and now, Giada De Laurentiis has tipped us off to another tool we might have been using incorrectly for years: the rasp-style zester.
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Wether you have a Microplane
or another brand of zester, these fine rasp-style graters are one of our favorite kitchen tools. We use them to zest citrus, and to finely grate ginger, garlic, cheese, and chocolate for a wide variety of recipes. If yours is sharp enough, you can even use it to grate fresh nutmeg and other whole spices.
Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester
We’ve always placed the zester with the blades facing up, then grated or zested what we needed, so that the ingredient falls onto the cutting board or into the pot, pan, or bowl we’re using. But according to De Laurentiis, this is actually backwards.
OXO Good Grips Etched Zester and Grater
She holds the zester with the blades facing downward, so the channel of the zester is facing up, and the ingredient is placed underneath. Then, she pulls the blade over the surface of the ingredient being used, so everything that gets grated ends up sitting on the blade in the channel, where it can be more accurately measured.
She’s not the only one who wields a zester in such a way. Prolific food blogger David Leite recommends the same method, too. But other experts — and some of De Laurentiis’ Instagram followers — don’t agree.
“Looks much slower and more awkward,” said one commenter. “I’ll keep doing it the wrong way.” “That doesn’t look like it would work for me,” said another. Another had a safety concern. “That seems dangerous,” they said. “Finger pieces would end up in my lemon!”
Still, others were willing to try the new method. “OMG! Thank you, G! I’ve been doing it wrong for 500 years,” shared one grateful follower.
But the most important thing? Having a high-quality sharp zester, so your food doesn’t dangerously skid around on the blade. We like a classic Microplane.
Whether you try De Laurentiis’ trick, or keep doing things the usual way, a zester is one tool no kitchen should be without.
In search of summer recipes? Giada De Laurentiis has plenty: