If you love cooking with citrus, there are many handy citrus kitchen tools and gadgets you can use to make it easier. Some of these are essential items for every kitchen, while others are handy gadgets but not necessarily must have items. Find out which tools we use and love when cooking with citrus fruits.
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Good quality sharp knives
Just to confuse you, let’s start with a tool that isn’t just for citrus! Good quality, sharp kitchen knives are essential for every home cook. And if you are cooking with citrus with its thick rind, investing in good knives will be something you are very thankful you did.
The knives I use the most when cooking with citrus are a general utility or chef’s knife and also a smaller paring knife. A chef’s knife is perfect to cut even slices for drying in the oven. Paring knives are especially handy for working with smaller citrus like lemons and limes.
A sharp knife is essential for slicing, cutting into wedges, removing pith from the fruit and also for cutting citrus into segments.
I recently upgraded my knives to the famous Wusthhof classics range, but in beautiful crisp white. I can’t tell you how much I love them. They make slicing, cutting and peeling all types of citrus from limes to grapefruit a breeze.
Citrus reamer, press or juicer
Every home cook needs a tool for juicing citrus. I’d say it’s probably the most important of all the citrus kitchen tools. The type of jucier you choose is up to you, but different types suit different needs.
If you only need a little juice and tend to add lemon or lime juice without needing to measure, a citrus reamer is perfect, There are also handheld citrus squeezers that are perfect for small cooking but catch the juice so that you can measure or pour. For most of my cooking, I prefer a juicer with the reamer mounted over a bowl to catch the juice. The strainer also catches any stray seeds so they don’t accidentally make their way into your recipe.
There are so many different juicers, each with pros and cons. If you are having trouble deciding which to buy, make sure to read our post on choosing the best citrus juicers for home cooks. It covers everything from reamers to large bench mounted citrus presses, and a range of price points from the most basic reamers to designer pieces you’ll want to display as well as use.
Fine grater for zest
The term “citrus zester” can mean different things to different people. Zester is often used to describe what is actually just a very fine grater that can be used for grating citrus rind. Finely ground lemon, lime or orange zest is used to add flavour, especially to cakes, muffins and baked goods. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the must have citrus kitchen tools in my cooking.
While you can really use any type of fine grater for citrus rind, the easiest way to add the rind straight to your dishes is to use a grater with a handle. You might ne familiar with the long handled graters that can be used for lemons and other citrus or even cheese or chocolate.
I actually prefer a shorter grater like the Microplane Professional Series Grater. It’s very easy to work with and has a non-slip end to stop the grater from moving. Like all Microplane graters, it’s also super sharp.
Citrus zester (stripper)
A true citrus zester creates small thin strips of citrus peel (zest) rather than grating it. Citrus zesters are short handled utensils with around 5 circular holes on one end. Scraping the holes against the fruit to slice away the citrus rind creates longer strips of zest that are perfect for adding flavour to dishes and can also be used as decoration. Zesters also often have a built in channel knife for create wider strips of citrus peel for garnish.
There is more than one way to peel an orange (or other citrus fruit)! Truthfully, you could get away with just using your handy sharp kitchen knives to peel citrus. A sharp peeler comes into its own when you want to create lovely curly strips of peel for garnishes and decoration. WHen I want to create peel garnishes I use my trust Oxo good grips peeler.
Another essential tool that’s not just for citrus is a set of measuring spoons. So many recipes call for a Tablespoons or teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. It’s worth investing in a good set of measuring spoons that will last you for years and come in handy for all sorts of recipes. You can even get measuring spoons that have both US and metric measurements to help keep your measurements accurate.
For larger quantities of juice, measuring cups or a measuring jug are also useful.
Other citrus kitchen gadgets
Kitchen and homeware shops are full of nifty gadgets, including specialty citrus tools. Often they are brightly coloured and look very ‘cool’, but are they adding any value to your kitchen? It’s worth considering whether you’ll use these gadgets or if they’ll essential just take up precious space in your utensil drawer without earning their place.
Lemon and lime wedger
A citrus wedger could be a handy gadget if you need to cut a lot of lemon or lime wedges. It’s the sort of thing you might find behind a bar or in a restaurant that uses a lot of citrus wedges. To use, simply cut the ends off your lemon or lime and then push down the wedger to create nice even wedges of fruit.
Unless you are having a party or often cater for a crowd, it’s definitely not something you need. It’s super easy to cut a few wedges or lemon or lime with a sharp knife.Of course, if you do cut a lot of citrus wedges, it might just be the handy tool you need. It could also be a fun gift to include in a drinks themed gift basket.
Citrus juice spray
Another citrus gadget that looks handy is a citrus sprayer. This little tool that screws in to the top of a lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit and has a spray nozzle. It extracts juice from the centre of the fruit and the pump spray allows you to spritz citrus juice on your salads or other dishes.
I’ve tried one of these for fun, and it has some appeal. I did find that it leaked quite a bit and the spray was pretty inconsistent. It’s definitely not an essential citrus kitchen tool. Personally I’d rather save my space and just juice my citrus the old fashioned way with a reamer or juicer.
Citrus peeling tool
Peeling tools are another citrus gadget that seems to be popular. It’s a little plastic tool with a flat end that can be inserted under citrus skin to help separate the peel from the fruit. It’s best suited to oranges and mandarins.
Again, I personally don’t have a need for this tool and can just see that it would me more plastic cluttering up my kitchen drawer. That said, I can see it might be very useful for people who struggle with peeling fruit due to problems with their hands, such as arthritis.
More tips for cooking with citrus
If you love to cook with citrus, you’ll love our kitchen tips including how to properly segment oranges and how to freeze limes for later. And if you are planning to zest store bought citrus, find out if you need to remove fruit wax first. Make sure to also see our delicious citrus recipes.
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