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The History Behind Morocco’s Argan Oil

January 15, 2020

The History Behind Morocco’s Argan Oil

What is Argan Oil?

Argan oil originates from the Argan tree, which is commonly found in the Southwestern parts of Morocco. It is tree-climbing from seed kernels of Argan fruit and is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, unsaturated fatty acids, as well as Omega 6, and Omega 9 fatty acids. This natural vegetable oil has a slightly darker appearance than almond oil.

This Argan Oil has been a prominent commodity for the locals due to its versatile uses in cooking and cosmetic purposes. It was first used by the Berber people to fuel their oil lamps; after which, they began incorporating it into their life for its copious virtues.

Extraction Process

For years, the Berber women have taken up the task to collect the nuts from tree-climbing goats. Usually, the goat would climb up the Argan branches in search of an Argan fruit to eat. The kernels would then pass

through the digestive system of the goats and the women would collect it from the droppings. It is believed that fruits collected from goat’s droppings are easier to open compared to those that fall directly from the tree.

The next process involves grinding, pressing, and toasting of the nuts in order to get hold of the Argan kernels. The cracking process is done by hand and is believed to be women’s work; this is because it requires a lot of skill and patience to extract the oil without damaging the kernels inside.

In fact, Argan oil extraction is regarded as the most tedious process compared to the extraction of other oils. The Argan nut has a thick, hard covering, and it can take up to 45 minutes for the Moroccan woman to extract 4 ounces of pure Argan oil. Additionally, one requires 250 pounds of Argan fruit to produce one liter of Argan oil. It is, therefore, no surprise that this oil is regarded as one of the scarcest and most precious commodity globally.

Luckily, the extraction process has been streamlined thanks to technology. Today’s extraction process is more hygienic, and the fruits are picked directly from the tree. Also, the grinding of nuts and pressing of oil is now done by machines to make the whole process effortless.

Uses of Argan Oil Culinary Uses

Argan oil has been produced for centuries and many Moroccan households use it in both traditional and modern recipes to increase flavor. Another culinary use is the making of Amlou, which is a nut butter thick delicacy that is mixed with honey and almonds and is used by the locals for dipping bread.

Cosmetic Products

With rich cosmetic properties, Argan oil has sparked worldwide attention because of its cosmetic benefits for the body, hair, skin, and nails. This oil is included in most hair and skin products to aid in hair fall and treatment of dry skin, acne, eczema, wrinkles, and inflammatory skin conditions.

Due to the wonders it brings on culinary and cosmetics, there is no wonder that Argan Oil is regarded as one of the most precious oils in the world. Before, the extraction process requires tedious work and a great deal of patience, but now, because of the advances in technology, it has become much easier and more convenient.