How To Make Cooking Oil

David Trammel's picture

One of the critical needs we all have is cooking oil. You can't really cook without it.

Mother Earth News has a good article here on how to make your own

Blueberry's picture

Lots of info on you tube their is a learning curve to the thing! Was designed for 3rd world folks to help make life a little easier. 3rd world is were we are going some folks complain about it being to slow, fast will cost 2-3 grand and needs electric power.

Thomas Jefferson raised sesame for oil in Monticello.

Blueberry's picture

PITEBA hank cranked oil press will extract oil from nuts and seed needs a adapter for olives. sunflower seeds, Pecans, Walnuts, Peanuts, the ones I have tried so far. Sold by Lehmans Hardware made in Holland. Beware of copies made in China know someone who has one pure junk!!!

I was thinking of trying out the piteba for when my olives start producing - hadn't realized there was a cheap knockoff (so thanks for the heads-up!).

While the heat of the piteba would "disqualify" resultant olive oil from being anything gourmet, it might still make *consumable* oil... and my plan is to also have oil for oil lamps. I love clay olive oil lamps

ClareBroommaker's picture

Thanks for that recommendation for the Piteba oil press. Oddly, a search on "piteba" at Lehmans did not turn it up for me, but a more generic search finds it at

When our hazelnut trees are bearing well, I hope we will have enough nuts to squeeze some oil.

I am wondering how many gallons of shelled hazelnuts one would need to get a decent quantity of oil and how long one would have to hand-crank to get a liter of oil. I hesitate to buy an oil press as I am wondering if it is really practical for me. I am thinking that it might be better just to eat the nuts (and also eggs) for healthy dietary fat and use lard for cooking if vegetable oil becomes difficult to get or too expensive. I am concerned that in a future where most of every day is consumed by manual labor, everyone will need to eat more fat, and it may be much harder to get. Of course, we don't know when that might happen, but I like to have some sort of plan.

Blueberry's picture

Information from Piteba .com from 2009. Hazelnut ( Corylus aveilanal ) total oil to seed 68%, % oil extraction 55, extraction efficiency 81%, litres of oil per hour 1.47, Kg seed per hour 2.4, speed 50 RPM. A litre is a little more than a quart. Kg X 2.2 = pounds. When I purchased my press had to order from Holland. Yes this thing is a little bit of a workout. I have been very happy with my machine going on 8 years hope you find this info of use.

Thanks so much for this good info. It does confirm that this would not be practical for me, but it may well be of interest to others.

ClareBroommaker's picture

A bit of a work out? Factoring in the probable loss of the orchard where the hazel nuts are planted, plus my declining physical health, I think I might not pursue this any further for myself. Darn it.

I think I might get an oil press as a present to my offspring and his family instead.

David Trammel's picture

Given the apparent difficulty, I wonder if a younger and more muscular (lol) green wizard might make a going business of providing cooking oil in the Collapse?

I've bought off brands and cheaper varieties sometimes, to save a few pennies, but I can almost always taste the difference. Whats the use of growing good quality organic produce if you cook it in subprime oil?

You would need to identify a crop that is high in oil per pound and realitively easy to grow.

Possibly sunflower seeds would fill the bill. You would need a whole lot of them though. The "seed cake" left over from pressing oil makes a good rich supplement to animal feed as I understand it. I wonder if bicycle power would make oil pressing any easier for the muscular young wizards you are hoping for?

Blueberry's picture

Sunflower, Black oil seed is sold as bird feed cost in my part of the world US twenty dollars for fifty pounds. Can use them to grow plants or make oil. More info from 2009 print out. % of oil 45, % of extraction 34-38, % extraction efficiency 76-84. 1.4 quarts of oil per hour, seed use per hour 7.5 lbs. There is a you tube of someone using a bike to supply foot power. Someone in South America hooked one up to a electric motor. Using anything other than hand power will reduce the life of the machine. One would have to add at least a bushing to the housing were the shaft for the handle is located. The extractor is based on designs used in Holland before WW2 for home use. I have a complete set of spare parts. When using normal run time 3 hours tops with lots of breaks put away for a couple of months do it again.

I had to click a little, but found the info I needed: and easy way to render lard. I have the lard hogs (potbelly crosses) so just needed that tidbit.

I need a cream separator to make butter and sour cream, as goat milk does not separate as fast as cow milk does. It's on my to-buy list for this year.

Magpie's picture

Funny, I clicked around and couldn't find their lard instructions to compare them to mine.

The way I typically do it is to cut the leaf fat into large strips and run it through a hand-cranked meat grinder. This is so much faster than cutting it into small chunks, so I really recommend it. I heat it in a cast iron frying pan or dutch oven, stirring often, until the chunks (crackling) start to turn translucent and crisp. The liquid lard should have almost no yellow coloring to it if you want "light" rendered lard, which is suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. I strain everything through a sieve and then put the crackling back into the pot and render it until the crackling is crisp and (the lard is usually a light yellow by that time). The second batch is usually about half the size of the first, and has a more porky/hammy flavor, so I use it for frying rather than baking.

Interestingly, I find that if I cook with too much seed oil (canola/sunflower), I get a stomach ache, which does not happen with an equivalent amount of lard. Not sure what it is about it, but since I can render lard down for 1/4 the price of butter (or free if I bike an hour to my butcher friend), I'm not going to complain!

Magpie's picture

I have also had moderate success rendering lard down in strong sunlight. My current build of the solar oven only gets to 80C, but that's hot enough to get some very nice, light lard out. It's very inefficient, though, and a second rendering is needed to get a decent yield.