Extraction of olive oil is usually carried out in large units. However, this can also be done in a small setup. Here are a few simple methods to make olive oil at home.
Ancient Greeks called olive oil liquid gold, and rightly so. Olive oil is extracted from the olive fruit, a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. The oil is so popular that presently over 750 million olive trees are cultivated worldwide, primarily for oil extraction, and a minimal quantity is meant for its fruit consumption. The use of black or green olives, after they are fermented or cured with lye or brine, is popular in the Mediterranean diet.
As consumption of olive oil has increased due to the benefits it offers, extraction now takes place on a large-scale. Traditional as well as industrial practices are applied for its extraction. You can either get the oil ready from the store, or try extracting it. Once you know how to make olive oil at home, you can always be sure of its purity.
Making Olive Oil Using Traditional Methods
You Will Need
- Millstones or mechanical means of pressing
- Olives (40 pounds for 1 gallon oil)
- Circular mats
- Siphon tube
- Plastic drum (food grade)
- Dark green bottles and corks
Method of Extraction
- Olive oil can be obtained from unripe as well as ripe olives. Oil extracted from unripe olives is light to deep green in color, whereas the one obtained from ripe olives is light yellow or golden in color. If you want the oil to have better healing properties, use ripe olives for extraction.
- If you have an olive tree in your backyard, harvest ripe or unripe fruits by hitting the branches with a long stick. Spread a net on the ground before hitting so that olives fall directly on it.
- Wash olives with water to remove dirt, and get rid of leaves and twigs attached to the fruits.
- Obtain a paste of olives using a millstone (generally used for large-scale manufacturing) or any mechanical means of pressing. There is no need to remove the pits from the fruits before pressing.
- Now spread the paste obtained from the previous step over circular mats and subject it to pressing. At this point, juice will flow out of the paste, leaving behind what is known as “pomace”.
- Transfer the juice to a plastic drum and let it stand undisturbed for 1-2 hours. The oil will now separate out of water due to density difference.
- Use a siphon tube to transfer oil (which forms the top layer) into another container, and leave it undisturbed so that unwanted particles can settle at the bottom.
- Place a funnel over a green bottle and slowly decant the liquid in the container to obtain ‘ready-to-use’ olive oil. Clean the bottle using a towel, cork it, and store in a cool and dry place.
Making Olive Oil Using Home Oil Press
You Will Need
- Ripe olives (4-5 kg for 1 liter of oil)
- Small-sized olive oil press
- Dark green or amber-colored bottles
- Funnel (for transferring oil)
Method of Extraction
- Separate twigs and leaves if any, and wash the fruits properly with water.
- Place the olives in the oil press and let the process of extraction take place.
- Oil will get collected in the bucket meant for collection.
- Transfer the oil in bottles using a funnel to avoid wastage.
- Cork the bottles and store in a cool place away from sunlight.
This method is suitable for extracting the oil at home because it involves less labor. However, one has to spend a substantial amount of money to buy a good quality olive oil press. Oil obtained from olives is very useful. You can either use it as a moisturizer or reap its health benefits by using it as a cooking oil. So now that you know how to make olive oil, practice it a few times to get a perfect hand on it, and enjoy your homemade olive oil!