How is Culinary Argan Oil Made?
You may have wondered why the pure argan oil price is quite steep compared to most other cooking oils… there is a reason!
It all begins with the magnificent argan tree (or Argania spinosa). Natively only grown in southwest Morocco, these trees are now UNESCO protected within a Biosphere Reserve to ensure its conservation and sustainable use. The rarity of this tree is one of the reasons why this oil is so special.
Once the organic argan fruits from the tree have fallen, they are swiftly collected and left to naturally dry.
This is where the magic happens, with a lot of time-consuming manual work. Traditional Berber women from the region work within all-female cooperatives to process these fruits into the oil we know and love.
First, the dried fruits are manually opened up to reveal the argan nut. These extremely tough nuts are then skilfully and artfully cracked open using two stones to reveal the valuable argan kernel. (After days of giving it a go ourselves, we hardly managed to crack just one open)! This of course takes a lot of time but ensures the oil produced has the most nutrients and highest quality.
For the culinary argan oil, the kernels are then gently roasted to bring out the delicious nutty flavour. (For the pure beauty argan oil, this step is skipped).
The kernels are then cold-pressed using a modern extractor and the first-grade quality, golden oil is collected, filtered, and bottled.
It takes one woman around three days to make just one litre of argan oil. This is what makes argan oil so valuable!
We are proud that nothing goes to waste in this entire process! All of the empty nutshells are collected and used for fire supplies for ovens. The extracted dried fruits, along with the solid leftovers from the cold pressing are used to feed livestock. The second-grade quality oil is re-filtered and used locally for a cheaper price. Kudos Morocco for zero waste!