Essential Oils through Cold Expression
Essential oils are obtained from the specific plant matter in which they reside. Today, Water Extraction, Cold Pressing, Steam/Dry Distillation and Solvent Extraction are the main large scale methods used to remove precious oils from plants.
Cold expression is the oldest of the “modern” methods of extracting essential oils. This extraction, without the use of extraneous heat was in practice long before distillation. The main reason for this was due to the fact that the needed tools such as stones or simple wooden tools were readily available. The main oil extracted in this manner is citrus, which includes orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin and others. Today countries vary by what can be labeled as cold-pressed. “In Switzerland, ‘cold-pressed’ is defined to mean that oils have reached temperatures not exceeding 50°C (122°F) during their entire journey from seed to bottle. In North America, there is no such agreed-upon definition. The temperature of oil that drips out of huge presses may be between 85 and 95°C (185 to 203°F). Inside the press, the temperature is somewhat higher due to the delicate nature of the skin and the instability of the aldehydes in them cold expression is the primary means of removing the essential oil from citrus. In this process oil glands within the peels of citrus fruits are crushed to release their content.5 Lime is the one citrus fruit that can be cold pressed or distilled. Citrus oil production is now a major by-product process of the juice industry”6