An essential oil is a natural extract, containing volatile and complex compounds. It is produced from aromatic plants, specifically from the oils extracted and concentrated from different parts of these plants. Each aromatic plant has unique aromatic compounds that give each essential oil its own characteristic.
Lemons come from aromatic plants and the peels are rich in essential oil that can be extracted. Lemon peels can be found as a waste product from the fruit processing industry. Lemon peel oil is one of the best essential oils to have on hand, as it can used for so many purposes, from a natural teeth whitener, household cleaner and laundry freshener, to a mood booster and nausea reliever.
- 1 kg of lemon peel
- 3 L of water
- Distiller (capacity 5 kg)
- Zester/ chopper
- Digital weighing scale
- Measuring cylinder
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Find Your Source Material
First you have to clean all of the seeds from lemon. After that measure the lemon peel mass using a digital scale. We have to measure it because this will tell us the potential yield of lemon peel essential oil.
Step 2: Separate the Good From the Not As Good
In order to speed up the extraction process we only want to work with the outer lemon peel. Separating the yellow part of lemon from the white part can be tedious and time consuming but this is the part that contains the oil glands that we can harvest for essential oil.
Step 3: Zest Your Inputs
Use the zester to zest the lemon peels until all of the peel is zested. Why? Because it will provide a larger surface area for the water to interact with, so the essential oil will be more readily extracted.
Step 4: Add the Peel to the Distiller
Add 1 kg of zested lemon peel and 3 L of water into still, a large container, which is usually made of stainless steel. The water protects the extracted oil from overheating. The heat is added by a gas burner, heating the water and the material containing the desired oils, which releases the plant's aromatic molecules and turns them into vapor. The vaporized plant compounds travel to the condensation flask, also known as the the condenser. Two separate pipes make it possible for hot water to enter and for cold water to exit the condenser. This makes the vapor cool back into liquid form. The aromatic liquid by-product drops from the condenser and collects inside a receptacle underneath it, which is called a separator.
Step 5: Check Your Essential Oil Production
The condensed liquids cool down and separate from each other. Because water and oil do not mix, the essential oil floats on top of the water. Some essential oils are heavier than water, such as clove essential oil, so those are found at the bottom of the separator, but lemon peel is lighter than water so it is found at the top of separator.
The remaining water, which can sometimes be fragrant, is referred to by several names including hydrolate, hydrosol, essential water, or floral water.
Step 6: The Finished Essential Oil
Measure the volume of lemon peel essential oil that we get. Not only volume, but also we have to measure the mass of oil. Why we have to measure the mass? Because we want to know the yield of the lemon peel essential oil.
In the beginning we know that we have 1 kg of fresh lemon peel. After we separate oil and hydrosol, we measure the mass of lemon peel essential oil which is 9 g. Based on the formula above, now we know that the yield of lemon peel essential oil is 0.9%.
Step 7: The Finished Prodcut
After you separate the oil from the hydrosol, you have to put it into a dark bottle to prevent light from getting, which will keep the quality of the oil high.
Lemon peel oil (the active ingredient in this hydrosol water) is known for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and fungicidal benefits. When applied to the skin, in either skin care products or directly sprayed onto the face, these benefits are passed onto your skin.