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Mar 26, 2010 11:48 PM

Mock Olive Oil?

I'm allergic to several brands of olive oils (there's something in the processing of those oils), but I'm not allergic to olives.

Can I make a mock olive oil by mixing a vegetable oil with olive puree?

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    1. Well thanks, but treating the allergy is not what I'm asking. I'm not allergic to olive oil, just to the oil processing methods.

      For now, I need a quick solution.

      I figure that mixing a puree of olives in vegetable oil and letting that seep for a few days should transfer enough of the olive taste to be a plausible olive oil substitute. I'm not saying it would be the best olive oil ever, but would it be usable in dressings and baking?

      1. re: icecone

        Ttry it. By steeping the olives, you will get olive flavor in the oil, and you're have a usable olive-flavored oil. I would use a good cured olive with a hearty flavor, or a brined green olive or maybe even a mix. Warming the oil gently first will hasten the steeping process.
        The lighter the olive flavor, the better it is for baking.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Thanks. I will try it.

          I just saw a video where someone made his own extra virgin olive oil by dunking cut olives in a glass of water and letting the oil rise to the top. That's not going to give me a lot though.

          The trick though is infusing so that it actually matches a real olive oil in flavor or it will be hard to reproduce the result when I use a real olive oil (assuming I find one).

          1. re: icecone

            I saw that video also and wasn't quite sure whether it was a joke or what, although in theory, it works.
            I was going to post the link, but it just seemed like, as you said, it wouldn't give you much oil.
            Hope it works out for you. I can't imagine a life without olive oil, must be tough.

            1. re: icecone

              Putting flower petals in water and then collecting the oil that rises to the top is an ancient method of making attars, as in "attar of roses". It is tricky, time consuming, labor intensive, and if you can actually find any real attar now days to buy, prohibitively expensive. It can probably be done with olives, but I would think they'd have to be fresh unprocessed olives to get anything worthwhile out of them and you'd get so little that it would totally not be worth the effort. I think you're better off trying to infuse them in oil. The upside, if infusing works, is you could still use the olives in a spread or tapenade-type thing.

      2. You might want to look into the safety of this. If you're just mixing them, it should pose no problems, but if you plan to infuse for a while and keep the oil around, you could potentially risk botulism poisoning (I know that homemade flavored oils are potentially dangerous).

        Do you have issues with other oils (e.g. walnut)?

        8 Replies
        1. re: nofunlatte

          I was under the impression that oils flavored with non-acidfied garlic or fresh herbs were the culprit. I don't know, or haven't read anything, about that warning pertaining to cured olives.
          To err on the safe, the oil should be used within a short (two week or so) period.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            I don't know--food science is not my area of science. But I think it does warrant further investigation to make sure that all is safe.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              As with garlic oil, so long as you pop it in the fridge, you're at little or no risk of botulism. It's warm + anaerobic + food particles that's dangerous.

              1. re: jvanderh

                You're going to kill someone with misinformation like this. The bacteria are killed by heat, but the toxins they produce are not. Refrigeration slows their reproduction, but does not halt it. After a week in the fridge, homemade oils infused with garlic, herbs, or any other organic matter should be discarded.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Yes, the botulinum is still present in spore form, but if you put the oil in the fridge as soon as you make it, you are at little or no risk of botulism because the botulinum can't reproduce under those conditions. Obviously, if you left infused oil out at room temperature, allowing the botulism to grow, and then put it in the fridge, you'd be at risk of getting sick. If the bacteria grew and reproduced in cold food packed in oil, half the condiments in your fridge would be a botulism risk. And you'd also be sick in less than a week. Botulism caused by flavored oils is virtually always caused by unrefrigerated ones.

                  I am so tired of the uninformed panic surrounding this issue. All you need to protect yourself are a few basic facts.

            2. re: nofunlatte

              nofunlatte, I'm not necessarily allergic to the oil itself, but some allergen introduced in the pressing and bottling process. Thanks for the warning. When I do this, I will use it quickly, within a day or so.

              1. re: icecone

                Good--we'd like to keep you alive here on Chowhound :)

                I did understand that the processing was the issue--I just wondered whether processing of other oils were different enough to stop you from having the symptoms. Do let us know how this turns out for you!

              2. re: nofunlatte

                Wow, I didn't know that. Good thing I never tried to make my own oil.

              3. are you trying to replicate the flavor of olive oil so that the olive oil flavor is in your dish? If so, and your puree method doesn't work, I would be very tempted just to substitute another flavorful oil that you can tolerate (nut oils, grapeseed (rather neutral)). I think in many dishes the flavor of the oil is a nice component but is quite successful to substitute for.

                1 Reply
                1. Have you tried:
                  a) organic olive oil
                  B) Cold pressed olive oil?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bryn

                    Bryn, I haven't tried them all. I'm not allergic to olives, but I didn't realize that eating olives are cured and maybe the curing process alters the allergen. I've eaten pizzas that are drizzled with oo and no reaction.

                    Olive oil is VERY expensive. In my local markets, 10 oz. goes for almost $10 and they don't sell in 1oz. bottles that I can sample.

                  2. Question: Is it possible that perhaps you're allergic to other types of oils that the olive oil brands you're reacting to may have been adulterated with? Adulterated olive oil isn't uncommon, and that might explain why you are reacting to some brands and not others.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KosherHound

                      I don't know. I do know that I am allergic to forms of pollen, for example, and if there's pollen in the processing plant and it gets into the oil, then I'm allergic to the oil.

                      I might be able to clean the oil to remove the allergen or neutralize it, but if I'm paying $10-$20 a bottle, I don't feel I should have to do this. And if I did process it at home, I might change the taste anyway.