Lemons are a strange fruit - tart as can be, they are often regulated to slices tossed in drinks or served beside fish. It's not something that most people will peel like an orange and eat . Sure, they will juice them and make some lemonade ... but only after adding a ton of sugar and water to it.
If this is how you are using lemon, you are really missing out.
The peel is packed with amazing flavor. Seriously. Forget lemon juice (well, don't forget it ... but don't use it without taking advantage of the peel), lemon zest is a fantastic add-in for a host of dishes from pasta to baked goods.
Want to zest the peel? Do it before cutting it. It makes it easier to manipulate. Basically, you rub the lemon on a fine tooth grater to grate just the yellow portion of the skin. Beware the white rind underneath: it's bitter. Once you've gotten all the zest you can, slice the lemon in half and juice it for whatever you might need juice for.
It's sort of a waste not, want not situation. And a tasty one, at that.
Here are some delicious ideas for using the zest:
Yogurt Panna Cotta
Baked Lemon Pasta
Open Apple Tart
scaron, Sarah W. Caron is a writer, editor and food blogger. You can find her online at Sarah's Cucina Bella.