Oleo-Saccharum Recipe on Food52



August 20, 2019
2 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Citrus peels plus sugar equals magic—who knew? When you mash the two together and let that marinate for awhile, the citrus peels’ bright, fragrant oils emerge. This syrup is classically used for cocktails, but it’s just as welcome in tall glasses of seltzer or olive oil vinaigrettes, even drizzled over ice cream. Find organic citrus, if you can, and scrub well before using. —Emma Laperruque

  • Makes scant 1/2 cup
  • 1 cup citrus peels, stripped with a vegetable peeler (I used a mix of orange and lemon)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
In This Recipe
  1. Combine the citrus peels and sugar in a sturdy bowl or measuring cup or container. Mash with a muddler or spoon really well—pretend you’re angry at the Oleo-Saccharum (maybe you are!).
  2. Let it do its thing for at least 5 hours and up to 24 hours. Feel free to mix and mash every so often, if you’re passing it by.
  3. Strain out the citrus peels (really press on them in the sieve, to extract all that good oil) and store the oil in the fridge for up to a couple weeks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Winness
  • kfminga
  • Greg McNeal
    Greg McNeal
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

    4 Reviews

    FrugalCat May 29, 2018
    Every time I hear that, I think Sweet 'N Low (saccharine) mixed with margarine. (my grandmother called it oleo.)
    kfminga March 11, 2018
    I've made this several times for my bartenders, and I've found one of the quickest ways to make it come together after giving it a good mash is to throw it into a bag and vacuum seal it. I used the method in this recipe until one of the other cooks suggested vacuum sealing it like we did with some of our marinades, and it worked wonders!
    Greg M. March 10, 2018
    Years ago America's Test Kitchen did a piece on the secret to to best Margaritas using the citrus zest to infuse the simple syrup. The synergy of this infused syrup made from plain white cane sugar, cheap white tequila, non- brandy orange liquor and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice give a clean, righteous flavor for an ultimately refreshing libation.
    Winness March 5, 2018
    This is the first time I've ever heard about this syrup. I did a bit of research and found out it dates back to the 1800's and is a bartender favorite for mixing cocktails. Now it's my turn! Thanks for the teachable moment.