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Making Your Own Vegetable Oil

[ 22 ] January 4, 2010 |
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This guest post by Chris Scigliano, one of our readers and our newest contributor, teaches you how to make your own vegetable oil.

Piteba Oil ExpellerI’ve lived off grid for many years, growing most of my own food and trying to be as self sufficient as possible. One thing I kept noticing was that I was routinely visiting the grocery store to buy oil for the kitchen; it was one of the few things I couldn’t make myself but couldn’t do without. Once I realized how important oil was I decided it would be well worth the effort to figure out a way to make it myself.

With a bit of searching I found a hand crank oil expeller and have been making all of my own vegetable oils ever since.

The process is simple, the equipment is very affordable and the oil seeds are easily obtained almost anywhere or, better yet, are easily grown in any garden.

I bought my oil expeller from a small operation in the Netherlands. The “factory” is a farmhouse built in 1852 and all of the expellers are hand built. The first thing I noticed when I received mine was how incredibly simple it is; there’s only one moving part and seems to be rather indestructible other than the small glass lamp used to heat the expeller for better efficiency.

The operation is equally simple. I think the most complicated part was mounting the expeller on a sturdy platform which could then be clamped securely to the kitchen counter. This operation uses quite a bit of cranking force at times and needs to be very securely mounted. It’s not difficult to operate (any 10 year old boy could do it) but it does take a bit of muscle, similar to hand grinding wheat for flour. I made a funnel out of a water bottle which fits the opening of the expeller perfectly and I ran a piece of clear tubing from the oil drip down from the expeller to where I set a bottle to collect the oil. At this point I was able to begin making oil and after lighting the heating lamp and filling the funnel with canola seed I was cranking away and my oil jar was filling rapidly. I wouldn’t want to set out to make several gallons of oil in an afternoon but the first time I tried it I made a quart of oil during a half hour phone conversation so it is not a real difficult or time consuming project.

You can use the oil directly from the expeller or you can let it set in a jar in a warm place overnight so the particulates can settle to the bottom and then pour or siphon the top portion of the oil which is nice and clear. I prefer to leave the sludge in with the nut oils as it gives the oil a stronger flavor and more substance but it’s nice to have a “normal” bottle of canola oil for every day cooking use.

I found the oil quality to be far better than anything I had ever tried before, which was not a surprise because anything made fresh seems to be better than what you get at the store. The oil is quite a bit darker than the oil from the store, but I found this is because it hasn’t been bleached or chemically treated – one more reason in my opinion to make it myself.

I was really interested in finding out what other types of oil I could make with this since the manufacturer says it can be used to make just about any oil you can think of. I’ve tested every oil producing seed and nut I could get my hands on and so far have had nothing but smashing success.

Some of my favorites are:

  • Walnut oil – The leftover walnut meal is wonderful in bread
  • Sunflower oil
  • Almond oil
  • Flax (linseed) oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Canola oil

Each oil has unique expelling needs as well as looks and tastes different, but all are wonderful. All leave you with an abundance of leftover seed meal which can be used as a high quality animal feed protein supplement or are excellent used in the kitchen in breads or on oatmeal.

Canola meal, which I tend to have a lot of, is not very tasty so I use it as a protein supplement for my animals. It’s around 40% protein and chickens, goats and pigs all seem to love it. It can also be used as a high quality natural fertilizer for the garden.

The manufacturer of the expeller can be found at www.piteba.com. The website has a lot of information on different oilseeds and detailed instructions for using the expeller.

Anyone interested in an expeller here in the U.S. can buy one from Amazon.com.

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Category: Farming & Gardening, Sustainable Living

About Guest Bloggers: Guest posts by other homesteading and voluntary simplicity folks. View author profile.

Comments (22)

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  1. Patience says:

    Great Post! I was just thinking about making my own as I tossed a bottle after cooking. I really want to get to a zero waste lifestyle…and making my own vegetable oil is definitely a major step! Thanks for the info!

  2. Anna says:

    This is awesome! Oil has been on my homesteading wish list for years, but I thought we had to buy something ultra expensive. This looks to be within our price range!

  3. Renee J says:

    That is so cool. Do you grow your own rapeseed for the canola? Or do you purchase it? Is growing rapeseed difficult?

  4. Chris says:

    I do grow my own canola and it’s very easy, almost like a weed. I might end up writing a little bit about growing oilseeds in the garden at a later date so keep an eye out for that!

  5. Rowena says:

    Please share the website where I can purchase my own hand crank oil expeller. Been searching, can’t find it. Asked around, been told “oh sorry miss, something like that isn’t available to the public”.

    Ya right, so, I’m at the mercy of anyone. Please feel free to email me where I can buy the seeds to grow and where I can purchase the crank.

    regards
    LadyFreeman

  6. Jay says:

    Has anyone tried olives?

  7. [...] PS: You might also be interested in our post about making your own vegetable oil. [...]

  8. Jeannetta says:

    Oh, I’m so excited!! This will be a wonderful addition to my survival cache! Thank you so much!

  9. bl says:

    I found this information very helpful. I have been looking for something like this for some time. Thank you for making it available for us. Have you tried to make nut butter with it other than peanut butter? And do I understand correctly that when using it to make butter as opposed to oil you do not heat the tool?

    Thank you.

  10. The Unforlorn says:

    I’d like to second Jay’s comment on March 14th. Has anyone tried olives? Or are they best left to a wine press, which is also on my wish list.

  11. billy cade says:

    we have a 3.5″ extruder. can we extract oil from seed with it? Also, can you tell me a source I can buy a small amount of canola seed to play with. You have a great write up.
    Thanks,

  12. Deb Comstock says:

    Lehman’s has a great catalog for off the griders.

  13. sandy blue says:

    this is very cool. unfortunately my kitchen is so small dont have room for something like this. but it would be a worthwhile projest in a bigger place. i recently bought some ‘familiar’ oil, brand name and didnt like it. i was curious about how to make your own and found your website

  14. derek says:

    you can get the piteba on Amazon and ebay. We had one set up on a moveable board that we clamped to the counter / table. That way it didnt always take up space. We could move it out of the way when we were done.

  15. Karl says:

    Does any here know where I can get canola seed in 25 lb and 50 lb bags. I have no garden to grow my own, but would love to get away from processed oils. We use tons of this stuff, so I would like to buy it in larger quantities then a pound at a time. Thanks.

  16. Emily says:

    Awesome article! Thank you!!

  17. Ioan Toplicescu says:

    How to buy one? How much?

  18. derek says:

    They are now available in the US on eBay and Amazon

  19. Charles Thompson says:

    Can this be used to press oil from olives as well as seeds

  20. kdonat says:

    Re seed in bulk: Look for “rape” seed, it’s in the mustard family. If I remember correctly, it is called “canola” to make it more marketable to the general public. It’s an acronym for Canadian Oil Association.

  21. Anne says:

    Canola oil is an industrial oil and not meant for human consumption. Plus, most rapeseed is genetically modified so that makes it even more unhealthy. Here is one of many articles about canola: http://www.naturalnews.com/029516_canola_oil_fraud.html

    Stick with the healthy oils and drop this one.

  22. Shreepad Hegde says:

    I’m also using this method to extract coconut oil. It works very nice. After use cleaning the expeller is tedious job!!!!!

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