Apricot Oil Preparation

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The apricot is a drupe, like fellow members of the prunus genus such as the peach, plum and the almond. The downy outer layer is called the exocarp, and the fleshy fruit is the mesocarp. These layers surround a hard and woody endocarp. Inside the endocarp lies the seed, or apricot kernel. Apricot kernel oil is extracted from this ripe seed.

Expeller Pressed And Cold Pressed

Expeller pressing refers to the process of slowly breaking down apricot kernels under mechanical pressure, such as two rotating metal plates, to release the fats. Cold pressed means that the oil was expeller pressed at a low temperature. The low temperature prevents the oil from spoiling. Apricot kernel oil produced by a cold-press process is a mid-yellow color. A lighter colored oil will be produced if it has been refined.

A variety of methods for improving oil extraction from the valuable apricot kernel have been explored. In India, the ancient method of collecting the oil is a cumbersome process done by hand. Modernized techniques have been implemented that yield more oil, cost less and are less demanding on workers producing the oil. However, this modernization is actually increasing demand for hand-expressed oil because the distinctive scent of the apricot oil is much stronger when collected using the ancient method, and it is believed that this represents a safer, more potent oil.

Distillation Extraction

Distillation extraction means exposing a plant to water or steam to break down the plant material and release the volatile or essential oil. The oils are cooled and condensed for collection.

Distillation extraction is used to extract volatile oils, including amygdalin from apricot kernels. The amygdalin is distilled from the cake of kernels left over after oil extraction. The cakes are heated to release the oil, then cooled and fresh seeds are added to provide enough of the enzyme emulsin to hydrolyze the amygdalin. If the temperature is too high when this reaction happens, the emulsin breaks down and the amygdalin cant be released.

Commercial sources of almond extract may be made from apricots, since the amygdalin content of apricots is lower and they are less expensive and more available in the U.S. than bitter almonds. Because they produce less amygdalin, the flavor is less strong than when the amygdalin is taken from bitter almonds. 

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You can purchase apricot oil online from several companies at amazon.com.

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