It’s no secret I have a crush on orange oil. It smells amazing in home fragrance diffusers. It’s also one of my favourite oils for home cleaning products, because it contains a lot (sometimes up to 95%, according to the editors of Green Living Tips) of d-limonene a cleaning agent.
Essential oils aren’t cheap. On the other hand orange peels often end up in the garbage, so it’s nice to find a use for them and save the cost of buying essential oil. The only real cost here is the vodka and a cheap one will do the trick.
In the past, I have made a pretty potent lemon oil, using the infusion method, but I wanted to have a go at making an orange essential oil at home (without a still), as essential oils are believed to be more potent and pure. The result using the method below is not as pure as cold pressing, but it does mean you can do it at home easily.
Orange essential oil
Orange peels (as many as you have available) with as little of the white pith as possible
Glass jar with a tight fitting lid
Vodka (I didn’t use the fancy pants vodka in the picture, it’s just that the el cheapo one had an ugly bottle and I couldn’t bring myself to take a pretty picture of it) or undenatured ethyl alcohol (I haven’t tried this, so it best to follow the instructions in this post) but not rubbing alcohol
Coffee filter or cheese cloth/muslin
Paper towel or cheese cloth/muslin
How to make orange essential oil
Dry the orange peels on a paper towel somewhere warm and out of direct sunlight until they are hard. This usually takes about two days, depending on the humidity (it’s faster if you tear the orange peels into smaller one-inch pieces.)
Cut the dried orange peels into smaller pieces with a sharp knife. Pop the diced peels into a glass jar. Warm the alcohol, by placing the bottle of vodka into a bowl filled with hot tap water. Pour the vodka into the jar until it covers the orange peel.
Screw on the lid and shake the jar. Shake it vigorously for a couple of minutes. Do this a few times a day for three or more days. The more you shake it and the longer you leave the peels in the vodka, the more oil will be extracted.
Strain the peels into a bowl using a coffee filter or cheese cloth. Squeeze all the liquid into the bowl. Cover the dish with a kitchen paper towel or cheese cloth. Be careful not to let the towel fall into the liquid. Let it sit for a few days and when the alcohol has evaporated, what remains will be orange oil.
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About the Author
Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine