Why Don't All Citrus Zesters Work In Both Directions?

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Every citrus zester you’ve ever seen in your life was probably designed the same way: A series of small holes with rimmed edges that zest your fruit as you run it down the plane. I emphasize the word “down,” because zesters only work one direction, which is like mowing a row of your lawn, turning your mower off, rolling it back to the other side of the yard, turning it back on, and mowing the next row in the same direction. Why do twice the work?

I’ll admit, I never gave this state of affairs a second thought until I saw the Williams Sonoma West Blade Citrus Zester. The zester (part of a larger line of handheld kitchen cutting tools) arranges its circular holes on a curved surface, which gives them enough bite to zest lemons, limes, and orange peels without any raised rims. You just sweep the fruit back and forth in both directions, and see results in half the time. And crucially, it doesn’t have enough bite to zest the bitter pith. Once you flatten out the fruit by removing the zest, the pith will slide over the holes without grating.

 It costs $20, it’ll save a not-insignificant amount of cooking time, and it’ll probably last forever.