Earlier this week we talked about classic citrus zesters — the Microplane and OXO tools that help us get great zesty flavor out of a lime, lemon, or other citrus fruit. Well, I have some of those tools (and love them) but I found a new zester at this year's Housewares show that quite frankly blows them all away. These zesters and graters are made by Edgeware, an American company based in Arkansas. (Yes, like Microplane — their "competition" as the very gentlemanly company president always referred to them while demonstrating his products for me. Never by name!)
These graters claim to have an edge (get it?) over the "competition" for two reasons:
1. They are designed with a "V" notch in the blade, which is the most ergonomic and efficient shape for slicing. The best mandolines, for instance, have a v-shaped blade.
2. The entire plastic surface of the grater or zester (between the stainless steel teeth/blades) is covered in nonstick coating. This helps the vegetables, cheese, or zest slide right off the front, instead of sticking to the nooks and crannies between the sharp teeth. (According to Edgeware the development of this coating was a difficult process, and trickier than you might imagine.)
The graters that I saw came in fine, medium, and coarse, and they did their job with wicked skill.
But the thing that I really loved was the citrus zester. See, I use a lot of lemon zest. I use it in casseroles, salads, and vegetable dishes — not just in baked goods. When cooking a meal, the zester never gets put away. Sometimes I use mine three or four times a day.
I instantly fell in love with this Edgeware zester. In fact, I think it was my favorite thing at the whole show.
Why? Well, look at the design (seen in slideshow above). There is a plastic container that snaps onto the back of the zester. As you zest a lemon or an orange, all the zest is trapped in the container. When you remove the container, it neatly squeegees all the bits of zest off the back of the zester, presenting it in one neat little bundle. (These were prototypes, too, and the company president told me that the final product will have teaspoon and tablespoon markings on the clear container, so you can see how much zest you've grated without stopping to measure it out.)
The other thing I liked about this zester was its light touch. This is designed specifically for zest — you can use it for Parmesan and other hard cheeses, but it's really ideal for citrus. You barely have to touch it to the fruit and it rubs off all that fragrant zest quickly, leaving the bitter pith behind.
Now, I realize that I get pretty excited about zesting products. Perhaps they aren't as sexy as one-cup coffee makers or pink toasters, but given how often I use my zesters and graters, this was certainly one of, if not my top, favorite pick of the show. If you're in the market for a zester, watch out for these — they'll be out soon. I'll definitely do a review of one in my own kitchen as well.
These zesters will be available shortly in cookware shops and online.
(Images: Faith Durand)