Botanical Name: Arganis spinosa(L) Skeels
Also known as, “Liquid Gold”: Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids. It helps protect the skin from free radicals and used in skin care for deep moisturizing. It is also used in hair and nail care to strengthen and promote healthy growth. It can be used on its own or as a carrier oil for other oils.
The fruit of the argan tree is small, and round, oval, or conical. A thick peel covers the fleshy pulp. The pulp surrounds a hard-shelled nut that represents about 25% of the weight of the fresh fruit.
The nut contains one to three oil-rich argan kernels. Extraction yields from 30% to 50% of the oil in the kernels, depending on the extraction method.
Extraction is key to the production process. To extract the kernels, workers first dry argan fruit in the open air and then remove the fleshy pulp. Some producers remove the flesh mechanically without drying the fruit. Moroccans usually use the flesh as animal feed.
The next stage involves cracking the argan nut to obtain the argan kernels. Attempts to mechanize this process have been unsuccessful, so workers still do it by hand, making it a time-consuming, labour-intensive process. The “women” often engage in this arduous task. Often this hand procedure is what increases the price. WELL WORTH IT!
The decanted argan oil is left to rest about two weeks so that solids suspended in the argan oil settle to the bottom. The clearer argan oil is further filtered, depending on the required clarity and purity. Pure argan oil may contain some sediment.
10% of Morocco’s income comes from Argan oil.