Lemon zest is used in so many varied dishes, and we all so love that flavor and freshness. So, what do you do when you have suddenly run out of lemon zest? Well, Tastessence saves the situation by suggesting some substitutes for lemon zest in order that your dish isn’t left incomplete.
Lemongrass as the Savior
If you are readying a Thai or Southeast Asian meal, use lemongrass as an alternative because it brings in a lemony essence into the meal, and you won’t miss your lemon zest anymore!
Lemon zest is the peel of lemons that can be grated or used as it is. It is added to many dishes, not only for garnishing, but also to enhance the taste of the delicacy. Apart from the taste it imparts, it is well-known for its health benefits too, which encourages its use. The rich content of calcium and vitamin C in it keeps our bones and basic health in check. You name the problem and the peels give you an answer―mouth freshener, weight reduction, and lowering cholesterol are a just a few of them.
Lemon zest delivers that great taste to your favorite dishes, and now it’s difficult to prepare a dish without garnishing with amazing lemon peels. Well, well … we move straight ahead to discover its many alternatives.
Substitutes for Lemon Zest
Pure Lemon Oil
Lemon oil is not the same as lemon juice. You get packed lemon oil anywhere. This oil is very good for health and has that pleasant and fresh taste/smell. Hence, it can be used as a substitute. The trick in this is to use the purest form of lemon oil available. It might cost you more, but the taste it imparts will make up for the cost. The cheap ones might just be added with colors. Boyajian or Williams Sonoma are a few brands that have pure lemon oil.
Proportion: ¼ tsp. Lemon oil = 1 tsp. Lemon zest
Note: Check if the oil is edible. Some oils can be only for aroma purposes.
Lemon marmalade is a great option if you want to substitute lemon zest in baking or any desserts. The marmalade is basically lemon peel, sugar, and water, so it will hardly change the test. It can be made at home, or else you’ll get it in your nearest store or online. You can use the marmalade as per your sweetness preference.
Proportion: 1 tsp. Lemon zest = 1 tsp. Lemon marmalade
Candied Lemon Peel
These are peels only, but they come with sugar. This goes as a good substitute for desserts. You can also employ them in baking, and the taste wouldn’t be any different. Just ensure that the dish you are doing doesn’t taste too sweet, otherwise you can’t eat too much of it. You can use the peels as per your sweetness preference.
Proportion: 1 tsp. Lemon zest = 1 tsp. Candied lemon peels
Lemon juice can always be used as a substitute if you are short of lemon zest. Bottled juice can also be used. Also, juices of other citrus fruits can be used. But if you want to try some other flavor, then the flavor of the juice might not be as tasty and tangy as zest is.
Proportion: 1 tsp. Lemon zest = 2 tsp. Lemon juice
This actually depends on how concentrated the juice is. If you feel it’s too concentrated, use it the other way round.
Peels of any citrus fruit is fine to use as well. You may not get the exact taste, but you can use it in recipes that demand less amount of zest. You can use lime, orange, tangerine, and clementine zest. A clementine is a hybrid of a mandarin and an orange, which will give you juicy and sweet taste (but will be less acidic). All citrus fruits contain a compound named “limonene”, which also gets its name from lemons. This particular compound gives the fresh aroma and taste.
Proportion: Use the peel just like lemon zest (the same amount); 1 tsp. Lemon zest = 1 tsp. Orange zest
Lemon extract is a very saturated form. You can buy it from stores or you can also make it at home. Just zest some lemons and keep it submerged in vodka for a few weeks. You can use it for a very long time. The vodka taste is not very noticeable; hence, it can be used in varied dishes. While using it, remember to consider the saturation.
Proportion: 1 tsp. Lemon zest = ½ tsp. Lemon extract
Some More Options
▶ Lemon pepper can be used as a substitute when you want zest for garnishing dishes.
▶ Acidic white wines can also be used, and the taste won’t be any different.
▶ Vinegar is also an option. Apple cider is a fine substitute.