Zesting limes on white background
The Food Prep Blunder That Ruins Citrus Zest Flavor
Citrus zest is known for its potent flavor and aromatic oils. However, when the peel of the citrus fruit is grated too far ahead of time, one key issue can arise.
Aromatic oils evaporate very quickly when exposed to air, so when you use the microplane before you need the zest, the oils have far more time to dissipate and dry it out.
You should also zest citrus carefully. Aim to only get the colorful outer skin, avoiding the white pith underneath. This inner layer can impart an undesirable bitterness.
Use fresh citrus to get the most fragrance out of your zest. Citrus fruits stored at room temperature can last for up to a week, but if they are very ripe, refrigerate them.