It’s pretty dang neat but oranges actually grow here. And lemons and limes and all of that jazz does really well here, too. There are these little oranges that you can get at the store for like 8 for $1 and Rob and I have been going nuts on them. We’re also getting after blood oranges, Cuties and Cara Cara oranges. We seriously just came back from the store where I got silicone caulk, he got a bunch of salt and sand and $9 worth of oranges. :)
And why shouldn’t we go nuts? they are in season and reasonably priced. It’s awesome. And since I also like to use orange oil in homemade cleaners and beauty products I made Rob start putting all of his peels to the side so I could harvest the oil from them. Waste not, want not!
You might be wondering, what can you even do with orange oil? If you love the smell of citrus it is FAB in homemade lotions and scrubs. You can add orange oil to vinegar to make your own natural cleaner for around the house. And since it’s antibacterial naturally it makes an awesome addition to your own homemade hand sanitizers I shared the recipe for a while back ago.
So grab yourself a bunch of oranges of whatever variety you prefer and be sure to put a little box in the kitchen for the family to throw their peels into and you’ll be on your way to a ton of homemade orange oil in no time!
For this project you will need:
- Large amount of orange peels
- Glass container with tightly fitting lid
- Cheese cloth
Here are my orange peels hanging out on my homemade drying rack I made some time ago. To dry well you want to remove as much as the pith (white part) as possible. For the oranges with thinner rinds, like cuties, you are going to have a hard time separating it out. But, say, Cara Cara oranges have a TON of pith. You’re not going to get oil out of those and it’s going to add a lot to your dry time. Use a sharp knife to remove as much of the orange peel as you can. Toss it all some place to dry. I used my rack, hanging in the guest room closet, but you can also just put them up on a cookie sheet on top of the refrigerator, too. Just give them a stir every once in a while.
In all, I let my peels dry out for 10 days but that was a bit of overkill, truly.
A mason jar works really well for this but I had these cute little jars and I wanted to use them. It was a terrible idea as the lids didn’t seal too well. You definitely want a tight seal.
With your peels nice and dry you can kind of snap them or crumble them in your hands. Break them up just a little bit and put into your jar(s).
Now don’t use your fancy vodka for this next step because that’s just a total waste. See this stuff I’m using? The bottle says premium but it’s anything but :) The bottle is plastic and it cost me just over $4 with tax for an entire fifth or 750ml.
Pour enough cheap-ass alcohol in to cover your orange peels.
Close your jar up and give it a good, vigorous shake for at least several minutes. Set off to the side and repeat several times a day (or whenever you think to) for 4 days up to 7 days.
As the alcohol starts to leech the oil out of the peels the liquid starts to take the orange color away from the peels and it tints the liquid inside.
Place cheese cloth or a coffee filter over a bowl large enough to catch all of the liquid and pour the contents into the cloth.
Wrap up the cloth and give it several good squeezes to wring out all of the liquid.
Transfer the liquid to a clean jar (you can wash the one you started using in the first place) and, leaving the jar open, place a paper towel over top. Set someplace you don’t need to worry about it tipping over and wait a couple of days for all of the alcohol to evaporate off leaving you with pure, amazing orange oil.
Now isn’t that amazing? I always love making something at home for pennies so much better than spending good money on it. Once you start making your own orange oil and using it around the house you’re going the LOVE it, I guarantee you :)