Need A Device That Zests?

Although I don't bake that often, many recipes that I do make require zest, often orange zest. Zesting without a zester is a pain: I have to use a peeler and then attempt to chop the peels as finely as I can until they're practically grated. Sometimes I get impatient and don't chop finely enough, resulting in baked goods that don't have the subtle orange flavor throughout but rather have it in patches. (Happily, others don't notice. I only notice because I'm the cook, I know I was lazy, and I eat the same item repeatedly and so have a basis for comparison.)

Thus, I wanted something that makes zesting consume less time and result in a more consistent product.

There are a number of choices: hand-held zesters a la miniature peelers, box graters with a side with fine blades, and so called rasp graters, of which the microplane grater is the best known.

After a bit of research on the web, I decided that a rasp grater like microplane is better than a box grater simply because the resulting zest is finer.

After more research, I decided I wanted a rasp grater, not a zester. The only advantage of traditional zesters is that one can make long artistic swirls of zest with them. As my need -simply zest oranges for cooking- is simple, the rasp grater wins. I found this chowhound thread on microplane rasp grater versus zester quite persuasive.

Once I decided I wanted a rasp grater, I needed to decide which brand. Microplane is obviously the most popular, but that simply could be because it was first. Yet, after reading this Cook's Illustrated evaluation of rasp graters, I realized microplanes were popular for good reason. They were first to market and constantly improved their product and no other grater has caught up in quality.

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