Q&A – What is Lemon Oil?

Like all essential oils, Lemon oil is produced by a complex chemical reactions within the lemon fruit itself. In the case of lemon, the essential oil is formed by cells within the rind or peel of the lemon. When you slice or zest a lemon you can feel the oil that is in the skin or rind. If you twist your lemon peel you will feel the oil being released. That is lemon oil called “cold pressed:” With the exception of lime, the primary type of essential oil derived from citrus oils, like orange, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin etc, is cold pressed. Cold pressed lemon oil has the same color as the fruit. It is processed by abrading the peels and releasing the oil into a stream of water from which the oil is isolated using a centrifuge and a high-speed polisher separating water, solids and wax from the oil. A synonym for cold pressed is “expressed”. 

Lemon oil can also be isolated by distilling the peels. This is a very small volume product that contains a different flavor and aroma. Distilled lemon oil has no color. Lemon Essence Oil Phase is isolated from juice during the juice evaporation process. It is quite juicy and is also water-white. 

Color: Lemon oil is yellow to yellow green-to-green in color. The color is determined by the maturity of the fruit which goes from green to yellow to amber, and the type of extraction equipment used. Different types of equipment remove the oil more aggressively than others. The more aggressive the process, the darker the lemon oil. 

Composition: Lemon oil is composed of terpenes, Limonene, aldehydes, alcohols and sesquiterpenes. The key (or characterizing) aroma component in lemon, is Citral. The percentage of chemical constituents in the oil can vary with each variety as well as the extraction process. Composition does vary based on the variety of lemon, the region, and the weather. Lemons grow best in a Mediterranean climate characterized by hot days and cool nights and a rainy season. Lemons grown near coasts generally are superior to those grown in desert regions. The weather and amount of water in each of these areas affects the composition of the lemon oil.

Botanical Name: Citrus limon 

Origin or Country: The lemon oil is produced in several places: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, South Africa, Italy and California 

Related fruits: Bergamot; sour lemon, and Meyer lemon 

Uses: Lemon oil is used in flavors and fragrances. It is a very popular flavor in beverages. It can be used as a flavor in spice blends or dressings or baking or cooking. Lemon is a popular fragrance in industrial cleaners, detergents, air fresheners and more. 


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