How is Argan oil made?
Understanding the process of how Argan oil is made,
will help you understand the real value of this gift.
Why the question how is Argan oil made?
Many (if not the majority) of the Argan oil new comers, often fall into the “comparing-prices-only” trap, while trying to get a hold of the wonderful product, they heard and / or read so much positive reviews about, only to realize (usually after a few orders from different sources offering an allegedly bargain Argan oil deal), that the product they are really after has its justifiably high price tag.
Don’t get me wrong here.
- It is not the clients’ nor the readers’ fault if they fall into such a trap. It isn’t easy to sort through the fluff about Argan oil out there, and let’s not talk about the lack of reliable information in the first place.
So I hope this post will enable you to see Argan oil from the perspective of the hard-working women who sit each & every day to process this liquid gold, and hence give you a clearer idea
- on how is Argan oil made, the intense, cumbersome and time-consuming steps that all go into producing traditional & pure organic Argan oil.
The Argan oil (or oleo de Argan, and huile d’argan) is produced from the seeds extracted out of the Argan nuts with varying yields depending on the extraction method as well as on the quality of the Argania Spinosa kernels used.
But before diving in the different extraction methods of the Argan oil, let’s have a look at an earlier step:
How is Argan oil made: The harvesting
Apart from the environmentally questionable mechanical harvesting methods introduced in the last decade, there are 2 traditional ways of collecting Argan fruits which have been practiced by locals here for centuries:
- The women would either collect the Argan nuts after they fall from the Argan tree late July and beginning of August (in some cases they would fell the rest of them using stones).
- OR collect the Argan nuts that goats spit out after they ruminate and eat the fleshy part of the fruit.
No worries: the latter is cleaner and safer than it sounds because:
- the kernels are protected in a bullet-proof shell
- and the uncracked Argan nuts are treated clean before any further processing.
Besides, remember the most expensive coffee in the world – ≈ 400 $ a cup- is made from animal poop!
The goats of the Argan tree regions acquired amazing climbing skills to reach and nourish on their favorite food: the Argan fruits, and thus “taking over” the harvesting process 🙂
The latter process is becoming more and more rare, though, as the cooperatives raw material needs are much higher than what any goat herd can provide.
How is Argan oil made: Drying, cracking & extracting
After being hand-collected or directly harvested, the Argan fruits are either dried in the open air for a while to help remove the fleshy pulp (which is used as very nutritive animal feed) or removed mechanically to speed up the process before starting one of the different extraction processes.
The time as well as the quantity of the Argan fruits needed to gain 1 liter of the precious pure Argan oil depend on the extraction method used as well as on the crop quality:
- It takes ≈ 2 Kg of the Argan kernels = ≈ 25-30 Kg of Argan fruits.
- It can take 2 days of hard work to remove the pulp & crack ≈ ½-2 Kg of nuts for the same amount of pure Argan oil.
- In the case of culinary Argan oil, it takes ≈ 30 minutes to roast the 2 Kg needed.
- The cumbersome process of grinding the 2 Kg of roasted Argan kernels, takes between 2½ & 3 hours.
By the way the seasonal average fruit crop yield per Argan tree is 120 to 180 kg depending on the weather as well as the quality & kind of ground around it.
The lengthy process and the rareness of the tree are 2 of the inescapable factors influencing the price of the real and pure Argan oil.
To have a better understanding of the different Argan oil extraction methods, please click here!