All About Zest: How To Measure and Store Lemon Zest?

Good Question

We just received two very good question about one of our favorite ingredients: lemon zest. So we thought we'd do a lemon zest extravaganza and solicit reader advice on these questions, plus anything else you want to share on this essential ingredient. Here are the two questions, one about measurement, and one about storage.

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First, Nenasadije writes:

I've been testing my baking skills. In particular, i've been baking a lot of "afternoon tea" style cakes; Gourmet's lemon olive-oil cake is a prime example and where my question originates - when measuring the zest of citrus fruit should one keep the measure light and airy or pack the zest down? For example, I use a Microplane for most of my zesting needs which creates a beautiful pillow of zest. Should I simply pile the zest into the measuring spoons to create what would appear to be one and a half teaspoons of zest or should I pack it in to the spoons to create a more accurate measurement?

Then Michelle writes:

What's the best way (if there is one!) to save citrus zest? I've just juiced a truckload of lemons to freeze the juice, and I'd hate to lose the zest.

On the first question, we are sort of loose about this. We love lemon, and we also find that it's hard to grate a lemon to precise measure. So when a recipe calls for a teaspoon, let's say, we grate enough to cover that, and if there's a little extra we press it into the spoon too. But we aren't very precise on fluffy or packed spoons of zest. What about you guys?

On the second question, we've tried saving lemon zest in plastic-covered ramekins in the fridge, but we find that the flavor seems to dissipate quickly. We have never tried freezing it... anyone?

Plus, any other tips you've been storing up to share on lemon zest would be very welcome! Zest away!

Related: Tip: Five Ways to Use Naked Lemons

(Images: Faith Durand)