By using an oil press, you can produce homemade oils with tons of flavor. In this video, learn how to use a Piteba oil press for superior cooking oil from your favorite nuts and seeds.
By Hannah Kincaid
Using an oil press to produce your own cooking oils is as fantastic way to become more self-sufficient and to disconnect from the industrial food system. You will notice that your homemade cooking oil taste fresher and more flavorful than store-bought varieties. By pressing your own cooking oil you can also guarantee that the oil you cook with was organically produced without pesticides or harmful chemicals. Take your homemade oils one step further by infusing them with garden-fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil or lavender. In addition to oil, you can also use many presses to produce nut butter.
You can grow sunflowers, pumpkins, peanuts, hazelnuts and other plants to make cooking oil from their seeds. For best results, be sure to grow oilseed varieties of sunflowers and pumpkin, which have an oil content of about 45 percent. Almonds, peanuts, canola (rapeseed) and walnut all produce approximately 7 pounds of produce per 100 square feet. Hazelnuts produce 6 pounds per 100 square feet, and pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seed all produce less than 4 pounds per 100 square feet. For more information, see Growing Nuts and Seed Crops for Homegrown Cooking Oils.
Oil presses such as the Piteba oil press featured in this video can be used to press a wide variety of seeds and nuts, including almonds, beechnuts, cocoa beans, coconut, groundnut (peanut), hazelnut, hemp seed, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, rapeseed, safflower, sesame, sunflower and walnut. Different seeds have different oil contents. Almonds have 65 percent total oil to seed, whereas peanuts have 57 percent and black oil sunflower seeds contain 45 percent. Walnut has one of the highest oil-to-seed ratios at 71 percent.
For the best results, the moisture content of the seed should be between eight and 10 percent. In general, seed has the correct water content when normal farm procedures in drying and storage are followed. Seeds and nuts (with the exception of groundnut, walnut and hazelnut) do not need to be de-shelled before pressing.
The MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff has been featured in videos covering topics from seed starting to skin toner. Check out our full collection of wiser living videos on our video page.