Good for: Releasing tiny bursts of concentrated flavor from cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and citrus rind. More slender and with smaller holes than rasp graters, zesters make hundreds of fine cuts. They’re ideal for lemons and limes, since the tiny holes won’t pick up pith (the bitter white part of the skin). The five- or six-hole ones, called lemon or citrus zesters, are good for making lemon curls for martinis and espresso.
Look for: Razor-edged holes; a thin grater plate (the thinner the metal, the finer the cutting edge).
Tip: Running a lemon back and forth against a zester can create a blizzard of zest and spray. Instead, drag the zester across the rind, following the curve, as if you’re shaving the lemon. The zest will collect neatly on the underside. When a recipe calls for zest and juice, zest first; squeezed fruits lose shape and are hard to grate.
Shown: Microplane Original Series Zester Grater, $13, microplane.com.