The world is full of small kitchen gadgets, ranging from must-have’s to laughably pointless. While I love browsing through them in kitchen shops, I don’t often buy them. For me, a little gadget has to justify its cupboard space. This is probably more of a factor than cost, although if I bought everything that caught my eye I’d struggle to pay the mortgage! So where does a citrus zester fit in? Is it a future kitchen star or will I find it in a year or two gathering dust at the back of a drawer?
Chef’n Palm citrus zester – a gadget Christmas gift!
Let me start by saying that my Chef’n Palm citrus zester was a stocking filler gift at Christmas. I probably wouldn’t have thought to buy it myself. Up to now, I have been happily using a fine Microplane grater to zest lemons, limes and oranges: it’s effective, easy to use and clean, and pretty versatile. So, how does my new citrus zester compare?
The Chef’n Palm citrus zester is designed to zest citrus fruits and collect the zest in its in-built compartment to reduce the mess from stray bits of zest. It is extremely effective at zesting limes, lemons and oranges. The grating surface is very sharp, and removes a perfect depth of zest while leaving the bitter pith behind.
I have personally never found zesting citrus fruits terribly messy using a normal grater. I just do it over a dish or directly over the food I am adding the zest to. However, the Chef’n Palm collects all zest very nicely, and is quite a neat way of storing the zest in advance. Citrus zest tends to cling to things, so you need to tap or brush the zest off the metal grater surface as well as from the container.
Ease of Use
The Chef’n Palm sits comfortably in your hand, with a little indentation on the side where your thumb sits. The grating action feels a little awkward: the zester fits snugly into the palm, so you have to move your hand in the specific direction of the blade for the zester to work. This involves moving out and away from your body in a “thumb to little finger” direction. It feels weird because when I’m zesting using a Microplane I am grating towards my body. However, it just takes a bit of getting used to, and then it’s fine!
Ease of Cleaning
This is a fantastic little gadget for cleaning! There are only two, non-moving parts which are easy to rinse. All edges and corners are smooth and rounded, and corners are easy to reach into, so the zest does not get stuck in awkward nooks and crannies. You need to take a bit of care rinsing the metal grating surface as zest can stick a little – but this is the nature of all graters. I don’t have a dishwasher, but it is apparently dishwasher safe too.
The Chef’n Palm is only advertised as a citrus zester. I have found that it also works well to grate nutmeg and garlic. However, I would be concerned about these strong, non-citrus flavours tainting the plastic compartment. I don’t always want my lemon zest tasting faintly of garlic! (To avoid this, I only tested the blade on the garlic and nutmeg. I left the storage compartment open – a slightly awkward process!) For this reason, I only plan to use mine to test citrus fruits.
The Chef’n Palm is great for zesting in advance and containing it. However, if you wanted a light sprinkling of zest over a dish, you’d be better off grating directly over your food. You also wouldn’t want to use it for grating large quantities (e.g. cheese), as its storage compartment is not huge – but then that’s not what it’s designed for. It is certainly big enough to contain ample quantities of citrus zest unless you’re cooking on an industrial scale!
The Chef’n Palm is a small gadget (7cm/3 inches long), so it won’t take up much space at all in your kitchen drawers. Its boxy shape means it won’t lie down flat, but will need a little corner somewhere.
This is not the most important factor, but the Chef’n Palm citrus zester is quite aesthetically pleasing. It features, modern, fuss-free lines and comes in cheerful citrus colours. Mine is lemon yellow, but you can also get lime green.
Overall I think the Chef’n Palm citrus zester is quite a nifty little gadget. I only plan to zest citrus fruits with it, so I probably won’t use it as frequently as my trusty Microplane. However, it is very good at what it does, and the grating action is fine once you get used to it. It is low maintenance and easy to clean. I’m pretty sure it’s worth its small amount of drawer space. Time will tell…