extraction of vegetable oil from seeds: looking for info

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I am looking for information on extracting oil from grains and seeds, such as soybeans and corn. I've web searched rather extensively, and a lot of the soybean information pages are maintained by the agricultural processing industry, and I've noticed that virtually every question on this (relating to doing it say on a farm or small co-op basis), has been deflected with responses such as "the equipment to do this is very expensive and generally not cost effective for small farms." But somehow it seems to me that it can't be rocket science.

Olives can be pressed by hand presses; there are a lot of archeological digs with olive oil presses which basically consist of a lever and fulcrum squeezing a container where the olives presumably would be placed.

So is making soybean oil as simple as pressing ripe whole (but not dried, of course) soybeans?

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-- robert waldrop (rmwj@soonernet.com), July 21, 1999


Good question. I'm interested in a similar problem: how to extract coconut oil from copra (dried coconut meat). How can I generate enough leverage to squeeze them coconuts (after drying the meat)...

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), July 21, 1999.

You want to find something like a vise or screw press. I found a wonderful long threaded press at a primitives place and the owner didn't know what it was for, but I know it can be adapted to hold soybeans and squeeze the oil out of them. A bench press (not the weight one) can also be adapted. Incidentally, cannabis sativa seed makes a fine cooking oil.

-- Sand Mueller (smueller@azalea.net), July 21, 1999.

Years ago (maybe 20) Organic Gardening was working on home-size oil production from seeds, nuts, etc., and I remember a small hand operated press for extracting oil from (probably) sunflower seeds. I don't think that it produced oil very fast, as I remember it as a small, perhaps 1 or 2 inches in diameter, metal press. We have a cookbook by Pat Katz (I hope I didn't slaughter the name), the title of which I don't recall, that mentions extracting oil from nuts and seeds. No specific details, but some ideas about using heat to help increase production, etc. I will post more if I can find more info.

-- Jim (jiminwis@yahoo.com), July 22, 1999.

There were alot of us back in the 70s experimenting with cold pressed oils. Including Pat Katz. However, we were preparing for depression and that did not include the loss of power. Cold pressed oils go rancid very very fast without refrigeration. Been there and done that. And don't recommend it. Besides, soy oil done that way takes so much effort and time and TASTES AWFUL!!!


-- Taz (Tassie@aol.com), July 23, 1999.


I wasn't thinking about using the oil for cooking, but rather, for making biodiesel.

-- robert waldrop (rmwj@soonernet.com), July 23, 1999.

Here's a book available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble: The Manual Screw Press For Small Scale Oil Extraction Kathryn H. Potts and Keith Machell

Gives step by step instructions on making cooking oil an describes the press well enough that you could probably build your own. Regards Rob

-- Rob Geneva (robgeneva@hotmail.com), July 24, 1999.

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