Tuesday, May 4, 2010

olive oil expeiment - fail

Sometimes things just don't work. I'm already making fiendish plans for a better olive crusher... make that a heavier olive-crusher that can crack the seeds and totally reduce the olives to pulp. We actually manged to get maybe 2 ml of oil out of B's hard work and my heating and spinning (I spun a milk bottle of goo on a 4 metre rope. The rope broke sending the bottle over the fence in a lovely 15 metre flight. It landed, unbroken in a bush. Amazing how low the value of shrubs is here If it had been valuable furniture or a carpet, splat!) There is a sheen of oil on the surface, and the little I gathered off the top with a thin-edged teaspoon is soft, fruity olive oil... but that seems to be about as much is we're going to get.

So tomorrow, to the compost heap. Ah well.

We've had a thunderstorm this evening - a brief one of about 15 minutes. This has some of the nostalgia value for the great almost daily summer storms of the Drakensberg which used to roll and crash around the mountain and forced me to unplug and swear a lot. It seems this is not as common here. That should do wonders for the volume of cursing I do.


  1. I've been trying for few days to dig up a link to a video I saw years ago in which some Spanish Roman Legionnaire reenactors made olive oil. I can't find it so I thought I would describe it as best as I recall.

    They had a post driven into the ground. At the top of the post was a hinge to long pole. At the base of the post was a stack of flat stones, the top one had grooves and a lip carved into it.

    They then brought a woven basket...right stout it looked...filled with ground up olives. They put that on the stone and then put another large rock on top. They then pulled the pole over the stone and at the end of it they hung a rock.

    Shortly thereafter a purple-black liquid began to run out of the basket and gathered in the grooves. From there it ran out the lip and into a small vessel below. After a while they would release the pressure, removes the small jar and replace it with another and then put *two* stones on the end.

    It showed these steps pretty rapidly but at the end they hand a hand full of stones squishing the basket. Some time later they showed a large pot being tilted slightly over and oil pouring out. How long this took I have no idea as I don't speak Spanish. But there was a series of videos showing these reenactors using Roman Technology and it was all pretty cool.

    I was researching ballistas and just followed links. And as always with surfing you end up fascinated by something that is not exactly what you started out looking for. A volume of an encyclopedia is to me as a ball of yarn is to a cat. Endlessly fascinating.

    Anyway, if you care to try it again I think it can done without whirling a milk jug around your head.

  2. Barbs and Dave, I did a quick google and found a hand oil press (says it's good for lots of things *including* olives) but I don't see a price.

    Product description:
    1.6YL-68 Screw Oil Press
    This machine is suitable for extracting vegetable oil from different oil-materials, such as peanuts, rapeseeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, cottonseeds, tea seeds, tung tree seeds, sunflower seeds, palm seeds, olive, coconut meat, corn pummels, etc.
    Also for Bio-diesel oil now.
    It has the following characteristics:
    1. Simple design,small volume and light weight,easy to handle and move.
    2. Easy to operate,low labour intensity and high economical profit.

    Don't know if this would be of any help, but it sure looks intriguing!


  3. Thanks, I will look into it. Anything beats an hour in a cast iron pot!