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DIY/Home Citrus Oil Extraction


Wondering if there's a relatively efficient way to extract a decent amount (at least a few oz) of citrus oil (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit specifically) from the fruit's peels using tools that would be found in the average home or kitchen -- from some internet research, it seems as though to do it in any meaningful quantity, centrifuges and elaborate machinery is often 'recommended'. Also curious as to whether pectic enzyme can aid in the process. 

Thanks for your time!

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Contributor III

Re: DIY/Home Citrus Oil Extraction

Dear Isaac,

Yes, it is not really too difficult to extract the desired oils for citrus.  Here is a simply guide:

At-Home Cold Pressing

Cold pressing is one of the oldest methods of oil extraction and one you can replicate at home with a garlic press. You won't get as much oil pressing the peels as you would by steam distillation, which yields about 150 milligrams of oil per 15 grams of peel, but you'll extract enough for food flavoring. To extract oil using a garlic press, first scrape the white pith from the inside of the orange peel. Cut the peels into 1-inch pieces and heat them in 110- to 120-degree-Fahrenheit water on the stove; "cold" in this sense means not heating the peels enough to damage the oil. Pack the peels into the press and squeeze the oil into a food container. You need at least 25 large orange peels to extract a useful amount of oil.

At-Home Solvent Extraction

Using a clean form of ethyl alcohol, such as 100-proof triple-distilled vodka, to separate limonene from the orange peels doesn't require as much force as pressing but it takes more time. Cut the peels into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces and place them in a clean glass jar. Add enough vodka to barely cover the peels and store the container in a room-temperature cupboard for about two weeks. Shake the container at least once a day, then strain the vodka into a shallow dish. Allow the vodka to evaporate and scrape the oil into a food container.

From: How to Extract Oil From the Skin of Oranges | Healthy Eating | SF Gate 

Best regards,