How To Press Olive Oil: Making Olive Oil At Home

Olives And Olive Oil
(Image credit: dulezidar)

Olive oil has practically replaced other oils in many people’s cooking due to its health benefits. Really it could only be healthier if you’re extracting olive oil yourself. Making homemade olive oil also means that you can control what type of olive is used, which means you can tailor the taste to suit your palate. Interested in making oil from olives? Read on to learn how to press olive oil. 

About Making Olive Oil at Home

Commercially produced olive oil requires large, customized equipment but with a few investments, making olive oil at home is possible. There are a couple of ways of going about making oil from olives at home, but the basics of extracting olive oil remain the same. 

First you need to obtain fresh olives whether this is from your own olive trees or from purchased olives. Just be sure not to use canned olives. When making oil from olives, the fruit can be ripe or unripe, green, or black, although this will change the flavor profile. 

Once you have obtained the olives, the fruit needs to be washed thoroughly and any leaves, twigs, or other detritus removed. Then if you do not have an olive press (a somewhat costly piece of equipment but worth it if you are going to make extracting olive oil a constant), you must pit the olives using a cherry/olive pitter, a time consuming task. 

Now it’s time for the fun/work of extracting the olive oil. 

How to Press Olive Oil

If you do have an olive press, all you need to do is place the washed olives in the press and voila, the press does the work for you. No need to pit the olives first. If you don’t have a press a millstone will also work beautifully. 

If pitting the olives seems to be too much work, you can use mallets to pound the olives into a rough paste. Protect your work surface with plastic wrap before commencing to smashing. 

If you do not have a press, place the pitted olives in a good quality blender. Add a bit of hot but not boiling water as you blend to help form a soft paste. Vigorously stir the olive paste with a spoon for a few minutes to help draw the oil from the pomace or pulp. 

Cover the olive mix and allow it to sit for ten minutes. As it rests, the oil will continue to bead out of the olive paste. 

Extracting Olive Oil

Put a colander, sieve, or chinois over a bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Pour the contents of the blender into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends together and squeeze the liquids from the solids, the oil from the olives. Lay the bundled cheese cloth in the bottom of the colander and weigh it down with something heavy or lay a bowl inside the colander atop the cheesecloth and fill it with dried beans or rice. 

The additional weight atop the cheesecloth will help to extract more oil. Every five to ten minutes push down on the weight to release more oil from the olive paste. Continue with the extraction for 30 minutes. 

When complete, discard the olive oil mash. You should have oil in the first bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes so that the heavier water sinks, and the olive oil floats to the top. Use a turkey baster or syringe to draw up the oil. 

Place the oil in a dark colored glass container and store in a cool dry area for two to four months. Use as soon as possible however, as homemade olive oil does not store as long as commercially produced.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.