Thursday, May 3, 2012

Orange Extract

Blessings Darlings!

During this last round of being broke I took using every bit of food to new heights.  Which meant I had to buy ingredients only, never 'food' as such.  Baking everything from scratch, however, meant that I went thru' even ingredients at a rapid pace.  And things like extracts can be expensive!

So even every orange, lemon, and lime we ate had to do double duty.  We'd eat the orange/use the juice of the lemon or lime, and then the peel would be transformed into the citrus extract du jour.  They are VERY easy to make, except for the price of the vodka.  And as you all know while it is legal to homebrew your own beer and wine it is NOT legal to distill your own liquor. 

Anyway, take the peel of the citrus fruit in question.  Just the colored part as much as possible, the white pith is pretty darn bitter.  Put it in a jar (I prefer glass jars, YMMV).  Cover it with vodka.  Rum or Everclear or whatever might be fine, too, but I use cheap vodka.  You can probably add up to a pint for one orange, somewhat less for the smaller fruits.  Let it sit for a few days.  Strain. Done.

If you're in a hurry, just use a microplane grater on the fruit you want the flavor of and add the peel to the dish, but it's not quite the same.

If you were actually after essential oils for some ritual use ... add the peels to a small amount of flavorless vegetable oil, like peanut or 'vegetable oil' and let it sit.

Frondly, Fern


  1. As a certified aromatherapist, I thought your readers might like to know that orange extracts and essentials oils tend to go rancid rather quickly.

    The shelf life for orange essential oil is only about 6 months. If you keep it in the fridge, you can double that. Also, once you used 1/4 - 1/3 out of the bottle, it is best to transfer it to a smaller container, as oxygen (as well heat, moisture & sunlight) increase the degradation process - unless the oil has been adulterated (had chemicals added to it for preservation which is not suitable for medicinal use).

    I would recommend that even your alcohol-based orange "extract" be keep somewhere dark & cool, if not refrigerated.

    The extraction of essential citrus oils really only works via expressing - where the peel is repeatedly punctured and squeezed. They may now be using a CO2 process, but I it is rather expensive, so I tend to doubt it. If you ever see citrus EOs that purport to be steam distilled, it is a blatant lie. This is also true of any citrus hydrosol/floral water, there is no such thing.

    Hydrosols and true floral waters are a co-product of steam distillation. This is not to say you cannot soak orange peels (or any other organic plant matter) in water and get an end result with the faint smell/taste of whatever it is, but it is technically not a true floral water. Waters done this way are fine for magical use, and possibly even cooking, but are rarely very effective for medicinal uses.

    I hope this helpful or at least interesting info.

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