Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Make Your Own Cooking Oil Without the Need for Electricity!

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, one of my goals for last year was to eliminate the need to purchase cooking oil by growing and producing it myself. I planed to use this oil for both cooking and soapmaking. So, I enlarged my peanut bed and added more peanut seeds to the garden in anticipation of making oil when the crop was harvested. In October, I harvested a lot of peanuts! Both Virginia Jumbo (for eating) and Spanish (for the cooking oil). After the harvest, the only thing I was lacking was a way to extract the oil. Santa came to my rescue and gave me a Piteba oil press for Christmas so I could do just that!

However, the press required a bit of extra work before it was ready to use. I have been working on that for the past few weeks. The instructions with the Piteba press stated that I needed to mount it to something and then obtain a funnel before it will be ready to use.

My husband and I went to the home improvement store and got a 2" x 8" board (we had it cut down to 24" long) to mount the oil press on. The press comes with all needed hardware so you can mount it onto a table or wall. I went for the table mount. My goal was to mount it to the board and then clamp the board to the kitchen table to use it. The first thing I did was mark where the holes should be drilled.

The screws for the horizontal mount were only 1 1/2" long. So to use them, my husband had to drill larger holes in the back so we could secure them. It was either that or go get some wood screws.(The oil press came with some wood screws but they were 3" long and meant for the vertical mounting.) The holes we drilled were a bit small and I had to sand them to make the screws fit freely.

The next thing to tackle was the need for a funnel. The Piteba web site states that they don't include a funnel to keep the shipping package small and save on the cost of shipping. (The Piteba press is made in Holland and they ship them all over the world.) Knowing this, I saved one of the 2 litter soda bottles from our New Year's eve punch and cut that to make a funnel. It fit perfectly!

The Piteba oil press works with heat. The heat comes from a single flame (think tiny oil lamp) so it is still considered a cold pressed oil extractor. The instructions stated that lamp oil was needed, so I went to one of the big box stores and bought some.

Now, I was finally ready to put the press together and make oil!  First, I bolted the body of the press to the board. Here is a picture of the bolts in the press and one of underneath the board.

Then I needed to assemble the press. The instructions are somewhat lacking here - they have a lot of pictures, but the instructions were not translated well and are a bit confusing. They did reference some YouTube videos, so I went to look.  This one was the most helpful.

I assembled it just as the video instructed and here is the end result.

The next thing I had to do was chop up the nuts. The instructions said if the nuts or seeds were large it would be best to break them up into smaller pieces. I accomplished this with my wheat grinder. I have an extra set of stainless steel burrs that are used for 'wet' nuts and seeds. I set the tension for very loose because I just wanted to break up the peanuts - I didn't want the grinder to make peanut butter.

Here is the final product that went into the funnel of the oil press.

This is where I had some trouble. Most of the reviews I have read said that this oil press has a learning curve.  I must agree with this statement. You are not going to have complete success on your first try!  I had difficulty keeping the press cage cap from clogging. If I tightened the bolt, the cap would clog, when I loosen it (or removed it), I wouldn't get any oil. I fiddled with it for about 2 hours yesterday before I decided to research some more to find out what I was doing wrong.

From my research, it appears that I didn't get the flame from the oil lamp high enough and therefore the press wasn't hot enough.  I will try again in the next few weeks to finish the peanuts. (I have about 5 more cups prepared for the oil press.) Then, I think I may experiment with other nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, sunflower seeds or flax seeds.  Hopefully, by the time next year's peanut crop comes in, I will know what I am doing!

In case you are wondering, yes I did get oil! I pressed 2 1/2 cups of the chopped peanuts and this is the end result.

The picture above shows the oil running through a coffee filter. The instructions with the press state to let it sit for a few days so all the impurities can drop to the bottom and the oil will clear up. I will do that next time. However, since this was my first try at oil, I just couldn't wait. I wanted to see how it looked.  

Here is a picture of some of the oil that has drained through the coffee filter.

So overall I am pleased, I did get oil. However, I am not ready to substitute peanut oil for the canola oil in my soap recipes just yet. With a little more practice though, I anticipate my days of purchasing oil from the store will be over very soon!

AND the best part is I did it all without electricity!


  1. if boughten lamp oil becomes unavailable can the oil you press be used to heat the oil press?
    how much oil per quart of peanuts may be expected?
    i suppose chickens or the bird feeder may benefit from the mast left after the process?
    how do you plan to put the nut remains to use?

    1. Deborah,

      Unfortunately, you can not use the oil you extract to heat the press. The problem is, even though it is called a cold process extraction, the machine must get hot to extract the oil. If it isn't hot enough, it clogs and jams.

      Lamp oil is the only thing I have found that works.

      Chickens or birds can definitely eat the leftovers! It can also go into the compost pile!

      Thank you for your question!


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