Everyday I pack an orange or two in my hubby’s lunch. And until recently he was throwing the peels away. That is until I discovered that I could make my own orange oil easily and economically.
Orange oil is a strong solvent and can be found in many commercial cleaners. All you need is a ¼ cup for every gallon of warm water.
Be careful because orange oil is extremely flammable. It’s also highly acidic and should be handled with care; rubber gloves are a reasonable precaution.
To make orange oil all you need are dried orange peels, cheap vodka, a clean glass jar with a lid, a coffee filter, a large shallow bowl and a clean jar with a lid to store the oil.
Lay the orange peels out on a ventilated surface, like a paper plate holder or wire rack, to allow for full circulation of air. The peels dry out within a few days.
Once the they are dry, fill the jar halfway with dried peels then and cover them with vodka. Place a lid on the jar, and shake it to combine the mixture. Allow the peels to marinate in the alcohol for at least a week (I let them sit for a couple weeks), shaking the mixture each day. The oil in the peels will be extracted into the vodka.
After the peels have soaked in the vodka for at least a week, strain out the peels through a coffee filter.
In order to extract as much oil as possible, press the peels through a citrus juicer. You will get a lot more liquid from the remaining peels.
The oil infused will have an orange tinge and a decidedly orangey aroma.
Leave the liquid uncovered. Over a period of several days, the alcohol will evaporate and leave behind natural orange oil.