distilling orangepeel

by Henk Ploeger
Citrus sinensis var. Valencia late
For the harvest festival which was held last year october, I was looking for a residual product, say waste, which can be distilled for making essential oil. That residual I had soon figured out. Almost every year graduated students are distilling orange peel. From about 400 grams of peels they remove about 4 mL orange essential oil.
Willem-Jan en Rose-Marie Peeters van tuinderij Peeters

The orange peels supplier was soon found. At Tuinderij Peeters we were able to collect 4 crates with   orange peel of Valancia late. They had the peels that remained last week in from the orange juice press kept in the refrigerator.

For the transport of full and heavy crates I got my bicycletrailer once again.
The morning after in the distillingplace I started to reduce the orange peel before they were ready to be in the distillation boiler. That was easier said than done.
It took me more than half an hour to reduce the content of three folding crates. To increase the yield of the skins filleting would have been even more efficient. Maybe next time with the help of some volunteers? Because the essential oil is located in the orange part of the peel.
I had a total of 33 kg (!) orange peels brought into the still. After placing the lid of the kettle in place, made the connection to the cooling bucket, I was ready for distillation.
For me it was the first time I had filled the distillation boiler with such a large quantitiy. In an herbal or conifer twigs filled boiler the amount is usually not more than 18 kg. It also took 2.5 hours (!) before the first distillate dripped from the cooling bucket.
The thermometer crept painfully slowly. But patience was rewarded when the distillation was once launched.
during distilling

There was spreading a wonderful sweet orange scent in the distillingplace. Soon a thick layer of essential oil was formed in the Florentine vase that I used to separate oil and water from each other.

florentine vase filled with orange essential oil and hydrosol
After distilling more than one hour, I stopped. Final result: 100 mL essential oil and approx 3 liters hydrosol. Because I’m very curious about the quality I will analyze this oil composition and the presence of pesticides.