If you live on property with productive olive trees, you may be interested in producing your own olive oil. Although labour-intensive, making your own olive oil can be a rewarding process. There are many steps required to make a flavourful batch of olive oil. Once the olives have been boiled and pounded, the pulp needs to be pressed. The extraction must then be cleaned, filtered and aged. A homemade olive oil press can be made from a few basic materials.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 4 12x12 square cement blocks
- 2 17-inch long 2 x 4 boards
- 2 x 17 x 17-inch plank
- 16 x 16 inch metal or plastic tray with drainage spout on one end
- 2 x 12 x 12 inch pine plank, 2
- Heavy car jack
Set the cement blocks on a hard surface. The blocks will be the corner bases for the 17 x 17 inch plank and should be placed accordingly.
Place one 2 x 4 on top of the two cement blocks on the left. Place the other 2 x 4 on top of the two cement blocks on the right. Set the 2 x 17 x 17 plank on top of the 2 x 4 boards. Adjust the blocks and boards so the corners are flush.
Place the tray on top of the 2 x 17 x 17 board. Set the two 2 x 12 x 12 inch boards on top of the tray and the jack on top of everything. The jack is placed so that when the jack lever is pressed the part that ratchets up faces upward.
Use the press by placing a 10 x 10 inch burlap sack filled with pulp between the 12 x 12-inch board and the tray and another 10 x 10 inch burlap sack filled with pulp between the two 12 x 12 inch boards. Set the jack in the lowest position. Tie the rope so it fits over the top of the jack, around the sides and under your press. Work the jack lever to increase the height of the jack, this tightens the rope and squeezes the press.
Tips and warnings
- Make the olive pulp by boiling the olives to soften them. Then place them in a watertight sack and hammer them with a heavy mallet.
- After the first pressing, the pulp can be reboiled and pressed again. You can boil and press several times to get as much out as possible.
- The oil is not ready to use after pressing. It needs to be cleaned and filtered. This requires only buckets, water, a funnel and coffee filters.
- The tension on the rope will get very tight when the press is used, take caution that it doesn't break and that all fingers are out of the way.
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