Cooking Question: "Zest of Orange"?

I’m making a recipe that calls for the zest of two oranges and the juice of one.

  1. What is zest of orange? I’m assuming it’s the peel. If so, can I use this bottle of dried orange peel that I bought off the spice counter lo these many weeks ago? If not, what do I have to do; shred the orange peel?

  2. If I can use bottled orange peel, how much equals the zest of one orange?

  3. Hi, Opal!

  4. How much off-the-counter OJ equals the juice of one orange?


Yes, it’s the orange part of the orange peel. You can use bottled peel; it should say on the label how much equals the zest of one orange. I’d guess about a teaspoon for one orange. Or, you can take the zest off an orange using a cheese grater if you want it ground fine, or you can use a potato peeler, then chop it up with a knife. Try not to include much of the white part.

I’d say an eight or a quarter of a cup of juice per orange.

A quick google on “cooking orange juice equivalent measure” found this page, which had this info:
Orange juice and rind, 1 med orange equals 1/3 cup juice and 1-2 tbsp grated rind .

Fresh orange zest will taste better, though, and it smells fantastic.

Recipe Hijack: when you make brownies, add some fresh orange zest to the batter. After the brownies are baked, cover the top with chocolate chips or crushed semi-sweet chocolate; put it back in the over till they melt, and spatula it out into a “frosting.” Candy some orange peel (basically boiling it in sugar syrup and rolling it in sugar – the Joy of Cooking or Fannie Farmer has directions). Snip the candied peel into little triangular shards using a pair of scissors, and decorate the top of the brownies with the peel.

It comes out looking kinda like a stained-glass mosaic on top of the brownies – very pretty. And chocolate and orange goes great together.


Let me repeat: It’s the orange part of the orange peel. If to much white gets in it will make it bitter.

What I usually do to get orange zest is take a vegetable peeler and saw it gently back and forth on the surface of the orange. If you do this right, you get just zest, no pith, which is the nasty manky bitter part of the orange peel. Then shred it with a knife.

Hey, don’t look at me.

[sub]“Zest” of orange. “Candy” some orange peel. Grumble…[/sub]

I have to tell you all that this thread inspired me. I had oranges and I decided to make candied orange peel because it looked pretty simple. So I had two orange insides that nobody wanted to eat. Then, I had noticed a big bag of sliced almonds that was just sitting there. I had a thought. . .

I put the almond slices in a processor, added some flour, baking powder and a dash of salt. Creamed some butter and sugar, then added the juice and pulp of the two oranges plus a little vanilla and almond extract and made Almond-Orange Cookies. Garnished with sliced almonds and candied orange peel, of course.

They taste good too!

I really enjoy my zester and I’m always inventing silly reasons to use it. The way those little strings curl out from the holes like citrus pasta, it’s so cool.

You don’t even understand the joy of zesting using one of those wimpy little five-hole zesters. When we had one of those, my family used to argue about who had to zest (we’d be making key lime pie, which requires way too much zest from way too many hard little key limes). Now we have one of these, and zesting takes about ten seconds and is fun and easy and generally wonderful.

For Thanksgiving I made some cranberries that called for Orange zest. I only used the real stuff from an orange because I had one in the fridge, otherwise I would have used the bottled stuff. DanielWithrow is right, the real stuff is 1000% better, the smell and taste was fantastic. Forget the bottled crap.

I simply used a cheese grater, the fine part, I had lying around. takes no time at all.

HeyHomie (Hi Rasta!) Fresh orange peel is so much tastier than dried because of the oil in the citrus peel. If ya look at the skin of an orange, you’ll see little dots; they contain the favorful oils ya want. By zesting, or lightly scraping with the fine holes of a cheese grater, you release the oil. If you do it on a cutting board, you’ll lose a good deal of oil.

My MO: get a bowl big enough to accomodate a grater (faster than a zester, but a zester makes nice decorative curlies for garnish), and lightly grate around the perimeter of an *uncut * orange. You can then juice the orange. Zesting an already juiced orange is a mess. The bowl will have caught a lot of the oil on its side. Take a wee bit of Hot water-to dissolve the oil- and swish it with the peelies. Voila! A nice potent orange flavoring. Zest of citrus fruit adds a lot of flavor without the acidity of juice; richer and more intense.

The dried peel has lost a lot of it’s flavor because the oil was lost by evaporation. If you use dried peel, add a bit of boiling water to it to soften it and release what oil is left. If you want the flavor in a quicker form, orange oil (not the cleaning kind!) is the way to go, but measure it in drops, as it’s quite concentrated. Orange liqueur would do as well.

As Daniel said, chocolate and orange oil are a perfect match. (Nice brownie lagniappe, DW!. I’ll try it!) For a wonderful chocolate sauce, add some orange zest/oil/liqueur to the heated chocolate, and a dab of vanilla extract. The high note of the orange balances the bass of chocolate, with the vanilla singing harmony. MMmmm, now I’m all kindsa hungry. Hope this helps.

crinklebat has it right. The microplane is the tool of choice and works with garlic, nutmeg, ginger or anything else.

Yeah, you can’t beat the microplane. They tend to be more expensive though. $13 for one cooking tool isn’t too too painful, but if you’re like me, and you get addicted to all these little (but pricey) gadgets, it adds up really fast.