A citrus zester is a kitchen utensil designed to remove the skin, or zest, from a fruit for use in various foods and dishes. This type of instrument is often found in both professional and home kitchens and can be used on a number of different fruits, though citrus fruits are most common. Consisting of a handle and a small bladed end piece, a citrus zester is usually inexpensive and though it is usually only designed for a single purpose, it typically accomplishes that purpose admirably.
The zest of a citrus fruit is the outer coating, the skin of the fruit, but it does not include the white inner layer of the skin, which is called the pith. A citrus zester is designed to be easily pulled along the skin of a fruit, such as an orange or lemon, and remove the zest in small strips. This allows the small strips of zest to be easily added to a number of different dishes, from cakes and ice cream to salads and marinades.