Olive oil is a healthy type of fat because it has mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, known to reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol in your bloodstream. In addition, the fresher the olive oil, the more flavorful it is. So, it makes sense for you to press your own. But don't do it expecting to save on your grocery bill. Even if you have your own olive tree in the backyard, you'll pay close to $3,000 just for the olive press.
Wash the olives. You'll need about 40 pounds of olives to make one gallon of olive oil. If there are no olive trees growing in your backyard, you can order olives in bulk from The Olive Hut (see Resources).
Press the olives. The olive press will crush the olives and separate the oil from the rest.
Bottle the olive oil. Use a funnel to direct the oil from the press's bucket into your bottle. Use dark green or brown bottles to extend the oil's shelf life; olive oil loses its freshness quickly when exposed to sunlight.
Cork your bottles of olive oil and store them in a dark, cool place. Keep the olive oil away from any sunlight and at a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to oxygen reduces the oil's shelf life, so don't open a bottle unless you plan to use it. Properly stored olive oil could keep for up to two years.
- Use your own press (the Olive Oil Source sells an olive press for home use---see Resources) or take your olives to a producer who will rent his mill to you.