Essential oils are concentrated extracts of a flower, fruit or herb. They are stabilised in an oil base. While commercially prepared essential oils use large stills that extract the scent and the beneficial properties from the plant, you can produce your own essential oils at home. Keep in mind that they will be a little less concentrated. Grapefruit makes a pleasing essential oil. It's often used in aromatherapy to decrease appetite and increase circulation.
Select grapefruits with a moderately thick rind for making essential oil. Wash the whole grapefruit thoroughly with warm soapy water and rinse. Grapefruits that you buy at the grocery store may contain traces of insect repellent or wax so a good washing is in order.
Peel the grapefruit. Scrape the white pith from inside the rind with the edge of a spoon. Discard the pith. Alternately, use a kitchen grater that has a very small grating option or a zesting option. Grating is preferable to peeling since you can remove only the rind.
Spread out the grapefruit rind or zest on a plate. Place it in a warm area with good air circulation to dry. The smaller the pieces are, the quicker it will dry. Usually, within a couple of days, the rind will be dry enough to proceed. It’s important to wait until it is dry to reduce the moisture content in your oil.
Choose one of two methods to make your grapefruit essential oil. A small crock-pot produces the oil in a few hours. A Mason jar doesn’t require electricity, but it takes longer. For more in-depth information on the benefits and uses of essential oils, see "Resources" below.
Place grapefruit rind or zest in the crock-pot and add almond oil just to the top level of the rind. Be careful not to add too much oil since essential oils are concentrated. Turn the crock-pot on low and cover it. Allow the mixture inside to heat and blend for at least 8 hours.
Use the alternate Mason jar method by filling the jar with the grapefruit rind or zest and adding almond oil just to the top of the rind. Again, avoid using too much oil or you will weaken the product. Cover and allow the Mason jar to sit in sunny windowsill for two weeks.
Pour the prepared oil from either the crock-pot or the Mason jar into a bowl lined with four or five layers of cheesecloth. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze as much oil as you can into the bowl. The squeezing extracts the remaining oils within the grapefruit rind.
Pour the oil into small dark coloured bottles. Seal with stoppers or lids. Store your essential oil in a cool place. Don’t refrigerate it.
For a stronger essential oil, press the rind within the cheesecloth between two plates. Place the cheesecloth on one plate and put another plate on top. Position a couple of heavy books on the top plate. Allow the weight to press the remaining oils from the grapefruit for a day or two.
Don't use the pulp (or fruit) of the grapefruit when making essential oil.
Tips and warnings
- For a stronger essential oil, press the rind within the cheesecloth between two plates. Place the cheesecloth on one plate and put another plate on top. Position a couple of heavy books on the top plate. Allow the weight to press the remaining oils from the grapefruit for a day or two.
- Don't use the pulp (or fruit) of the grapefruit when making essential oil.