Lemon Zest is usually made by cutting, scraping, or grating the outer part of the lemon peel (not including the bitter, white pith underneath). Lemon Zest is mostly used in deserts, but can also be used for certain meats or sauces.
Lemon zest gives a nice deep, lemon flavor to dishes, and may be used raw or cooked. In its raw form, heat will mellow it out and cause it to release its oils which yields a blend of floral and citrus notes.
Lemon Zest Substitutes
Dried Lemon Peel
Zest is essentially the outer layer of the lemon peel. Some chefs use dried lemon peels because it provides the full flavor of the lemon without the bitter taste coming from the white pith. Dried lemon peel is mostly useful in dishes that call for a good amount of lemon zest.
Lemon Oil or Juice
Zest may not always be appropriate since it is mostly used in desserts like Lemon Pie. Lemon oil provides a flavor similar to lemon zest, but a hint stronger. Although do take care when using lemon oil because it’s smell is pungent. Lemon juice, on the other hand, is for adding a tangy taste to fresh foods such as salads or for keeping fruits fresh.
Just like lemons, limes are a type of citrus well known for their tartness and strong flavor. You can use it together with lemons to add a stronger, citrus taste. This trick is mostly used in desserts, but some chefs use it to give kicks of flavor to chicken, and fried foods.