While grapefruit essential oil can be purchased through specialty stores and online, it is quite simple to make your own oil at home by using leftover grapefruit peels, along with a few other simple ingredients and tools. If you find yourself using a lot of grapefruit oil, it may also be more cost efficient for you to make your own. The process can even be a fun and enjoyable hobby to involve the entire family in. A fresh bottle of homemade grapefruit oil even makes a great gift.
Grapefruit oil differs from most other oils in that it is usually cold pressed instead of steam distilled. This makes it much easier to make at home and provides a higher quality oil than most other homemade oils. It is still important to know that what you make at home will not have the exact same potency as store bought or professionally made oils but a homemade version of grapefruit oil will still provide you with all of its benefits and attributes.
What You Will Need
- Fresh Grapefruit
You will be using the rinds of the grapefruit so the exact number of grapefruits that you need will be based on how much oil that you wish to produce and also how strong you want the oil to be. Feel free to save grapefruit peels after eating the flesh and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your oil. If using whole grapefruits, don’t let the rest of the fruit go to waste. Use it to make fresh grapefruit juice! You can even add some of your grapefruit essential oil to the juice for a boost in flavor.
When choosing grapefruits, look for a fully ripe grapefruit with a fairly thick rind. Wash the grapefruits with warm and soapy water to remove any of the waxy build-up that may be present from the shipping process. Peel each grapefruit, making sure to remove any flesh from the rind or else the oil may start to develop bacteria. Do your best to also remove the white pith from inside the rind by scraping it with a spoon.
You can use any grater that you have in your kitchen already. Make sure that the blades are not dull. You don’t want to struggle to grate each grapefruit, since you will be grating quite a few. Try to use a grate that will create the smallest pieces. Smaller pieces yield more surface area which will result in more flavor and potency in your oil.
- Large Glass Container
This is what you will make the oil in so make sure that it is big enough to hold all of your grapefruit rinds and oil. It should also have a tight fitting lid. You can use an old food container as long as it has been cleaned thoroughly. A canning jar would be ideal.
Lighter weight oils are recommended when making grapefruit oil. Extra virgin olive oil is a great option for most uses of grapefruit oil but if you are planning on using your product for mostly cooking, sunflower oil may be a better option since it is a little more hearty.
- Mesh Strainer/Cheesecloth
You can use a strainer that you already have in the kitchen, as long as the slots are not large enough to let any of the materials seep through. You can also use a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
- Dark Glass Bottle
This is what you will be storing your essential oil in. They store best in dark glass and will stay fresher longer this way. Try to use one with an eyedropper attached to the lid to make distribution easier. Be cautious if using a bottle that previously held a different essential oil. It can be difficult to completely clean the bottle and remove all the residue and fragrance from the previous oil, which can affect the new oil that will be placed in it.
Start by either grating whole grapefruits or grating the rinds that you have saved. You can use larger pieces of the rind if you wish but the smaller the pieces of rind are, the stronger your oil will be. If you are using saved rinds, make sure that they have not spoiled. Remember to make sure that all of the pulp has been removed from the peels, including the white pith. If you are grating whole grapefruits, don’t cut into the fruit too deep. Spread the grapefruit rind out onto a plate and allow the pieces to dry for a couple of days. Then transfer the rinds to your glass container. It should fill up the jar about halfway. Fill the rest of the container with your choice of oil all the way to the top and shake well.
Put the jar in a safe spot where it will receive enough sunlight to warm up a bit and leave it for about a week. Remember to shake the jar on occasion, at least twice a day. Feel free to leave the mixture longer, up to two weeks.
After the soaking time has passed, open the jar and begin to strain the mixture. Remove all of the grapefruit peel pieces but try not to let any oil go to waste. Once the straining has been completed, the oil that is left is your essential oil. You can begin the process again with a fresh batch of grapefruit peels and use the same oil if desired. Repeat the process as many times as you would like or as many times are needed to use up all of the grapefruit peels. You are finished making your essential oil when it has reached the desired fragrance level.
Transfer the oil to a dark glass bottle and store it in a cool, dark place. The oil should be used within six months. Try adding a few drops of vitamin E oil to extend the life of your grapefruit oil, if you are using cosmetically. If you are using the oil for cooking, feel free to store in a decorative glass container to store on your kitchen counter. Just check the oil before each use. If there is any concern that the oil has spoiled, discard it immediately.