Since antiquity, seeds and pits from a wide variety of plants have provided humankind with oil for a multitude of applications. We use seed oils in cooking, for fuel, as paint, for medicinal purposes and in body products. Avocado pits, although typically discarded, contain oil with both cosmetic and culinary uses. Although the oil has a bitter taste, it adds a nutritional boost to recipes. For cosmetics, add the oil to homemade lotions or shampoos.
Wash the pits thoroughly to remove all pulp remnants from the exterior.
Leave the pits in the sun for a few days until they feel dry.
Place the pits in sturdy plastic bags and strike them repeatedly with a mallet until they are consistently crushed into small fragments.
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Pour any oil from the plastic bags that came out of the seeds while crushing into a glass jar. Pour the bag contents in a strainer and push the oil through with a rubber spatula or pour them through cheesecloth, wrapping and squeezing to extrude the final drops.
Place the glass jar under the spout of a seed oil press.
Pour the crushed pits into the hopper of the seed oil press.
Crank the lever or wheel slowly to further crush and expel the remaining oil. Continue cranking until oil ceases to drip from the spout.
Clarify the oil. Leave the oil to sit for a couple of days then spoon off any contaminants that float to the top. Heat the oil to 250 degrees F to cook off excess water and to kill any bacteria.
Several cookware manufacturers sell at-home, manual seed oil presses that sit on a kitchen countertop.
Keep countertop presses firmly secured to a work surface with clamps or screws.
Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.