How Was Vegetable Oil Made in Ancient Times?

Vegetable oil has been used for cooking and various other purposes since ancient times. It is a rich source of healthy fats and essential nutrients that are necessary for our body.

However, the process of making vegetable oil in ancient times was quite different from what we do today. Let’s take a closer look at how vegetable oil was made in ancient times.

What is Vegetable Oil?

Vegetable oil is derived from various plant sources such as seeds, nuts, and fruits. The most commonly used plants for making vegetable oil include olive, palm, soybean, sunflower, corn, and rapeseed.

The Process of Making Vegetable Oil in Ancient Times

The process of making vegetable oil in ancient times was labor-intensive and time-consuming. The following steps were involved in the process:

Step 1: Harvesting the Seeds or Fruits

The first step involved harvesting the seeds or fruits from the plants. This was done manually by using sickles or knives.

Step 2: Drying the Seeds or Fruits

The next step involved drying the seeds or fruits to remove any moisture content. This was usually done by spreading them out on a flat surface under direct sunlight.

Step 3: Grinding the Seeds or Fruits

Once the seeds or fruits were dry, they were ground into a fine powder using a stone mill or mortar and pestle.

Step 4: Adding Water to the Powder

The powdered seeds or fruits were then mixed with water to form a paste-like substance.

Step 5: Separating Oil from Water

The paste-like substance was then squeezed using a press to separate the oil from water. This process was repeated several times until all the oil was extracted from the paste.

Step 6: Filtering the Oil

The extracted oil was then filtered through a cloth to remove any impurities or solid particles.


In conclusion, making vegetable oil in ancient times was a complex and laborious process that required a lot of time and effort. However, the end product was pure and organic as it didn’t involve the use of any chemicals or machines.

Nowadays, with the advent of modern technology, the process of making vegetable oil has become much simpler and efficient. Nonetheless, it’s always good to know how things were done in the past to appreciate the advancements we have made today.