Zesting citrus fruit like lemons, oranges and limes is really quite simple. You only need a small amount of the zest to add intense flavor. You can buy a zester anywhere cooking utensils are sold, but for me, it's just something to clutter up my kitchen and a grater works just as well.
There are just a few easy steps to zesting:
1. Wash the lemon, orange or lime with liquid soap, making sure to rinse away all the soap residue.
2. Grate the citrus fruit on the side of the grater that has small holes poked through the metal, making sure not to grate into the white portion of the fruit. This white portion is called "pith" and it is very bitter. Grate until you get the amount you need--the fruit inside is still good. Or, if you zest the whole fruit and have leftovers, they can be frozen for up to 3 months before they start to lose their flavor.
3. If you need zest and juice, it's helpful to zest first and the juice the fruit.
The amount of zest a piece of citrus fruit will yield varies depending on the size of the fruit, but here is a general guideline:
1 lemon will yield about 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1 lime will yield about 1/2 tablespoon of lime zest
1 orange will yield about 4 tablespoons of orange zest