Olive oil imparts a wonderful taste to fried foods, makes for good sauces and can be drizzled over salads or used to dip bread. If you have access to an olive press, or you are willing to invest in one of your own, making olive oil at home will be a rewarding process. The amount of olives you need will vary -- the yield ranges anywhere from 5 to 25 per cent oil by volume -- but the general process stays the same. Give homemade olive oil as a gift for any occasion.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Olive press
- Food-grade plastic drum with spigot
- Glass bottles
Harvest the fresh olives you intend to press. If you don't have your own olive trees, see if a local olive orchard will allow you to handpick some.
Sort through and clean your olives, removing any stems, leaves and dirt. Throw out any olives that show signs of insect damage.
Grind the olives in an olive mill, then put the resulting olive mush through a press to extract the oil. Pour the resulting oil into your drums. The exact process will depend on the specific type of mill you use. But generally, just add the olives; the machinery will do the rest. Traditional olive mills consist of large stone disks, which grind the olives underneath them. A hobbyist mill will usually come with a stainless-steel grinder and a hydraulic press to separate the oil, which is then filtered by decanting.
Allow the oil to rest for at least a month in a dark place, until the sediment has settled to the bottom of the drums. Olive oil should be stored between 15.6 and 21.1 degrees Celsius.
Take the drums out of storage to an area where you can bottle the oil, and let out the pressure by drilling a hole into the top of the plastic containers.
Put a funnel up to the spigot, and place the funnel's spout into the bottle neck for bottling. Fill the bottle with oil, then cut off the flow, and cork or seal the bottles for storage. The oil can now be used or stored.
Tips and warnings
- Before investing in an olive press, visit a communal mill. Local wineries may allow you to use their facilities for pressing olives. Call in advance or search online to see if any area businesses offer these services.
- Buy olive presses through olive-oil suppliers. Search online for available options. You may also be able to find a press at an agricultural-supply store.
- Put a pan under the spigot to catch any drips when bottling.
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