The essential oils of lemon, bergamot, sweet orange, and other citrus plants are extracted using the simple pressing method.
The essential oils of citrus plants are mostly stored in the outer colored skin of the fruit, so the flesh and white pith must be removed before the oil can be pressed.
For a long time, the skin and pith of the fruit have been separated by hand, and there are two methods available: either by scooping out the inner pith with a spoon, leaving the outer skin like a cup or by peeling off the outer skin, leaving the pith intact.
By pressing the peel, the essential oil and a little juice can be obtained. By leaving this pressed liquid for a while, the essential oil can float on the top layer of the liquid and be separated from the juice.
There is also a common traditional method: let the fruit roll in a vat with thorns on the inside, pierce the peel to get the oil and juice, then collect this liquid and separate out the essential oil.
These pressed oils are now often produced automatically using machinery, but the best quality of all citrus essential oils is still that of the hand-pressed oils.
We can also make small amounts of lemon or orange essential oil at home if we use a bulb press (not a garlic press). However, it is important to note that the fruit we use must be natural, not sprayed with pesticides, dyed, or waxed.