How Argan Oil is Made

I have previously written about argan oil and its multiple uses in cooking and beauty. This time I was able to see it made at the source. Much of argan oil is now industrially produced in large plants but much of it also is still made the old-fashioned way, and you can still experience the pleasure of seeing women sitting on the floor, a stone mill between their legs, making liquid gold by hand. Those women usually work for local cooperatives and collect decent profits.

There wasn’t any fruit on the trees when I visited but I have seen argan fruit before and it pretty much looks like an oversized green olive. The fruit is eaten by goats who spit out the pits when they’re done. The pits are collected by farmers to make argan oil. Take a look at the goats at work.

 

Argan pits

The pits are cracked open to extract the kernels. The kernels are toasted to make culinary oil or left raw for making cosmetic oil.

Toasted argan kernels

 

Raw argan kernels

 

When I asked the argan lady if I could take a picture of her working her magic, she shyly stood up and stepped aside to let me take a picture of the mill. Better than nothing, I thought…

 

Once the argan is ground, the ladies squeeze the grounds with their hands to separate the oil from the solids. The solids are sold to farmers who use them to feed their cattle.

 

Maya tried her hand at it. What fun!

Solids from toasted argan.

Solids from raw argan

Culinary oil (darker, nuttier)

Cosmetic oil (lighter, less fragrant)

 

P.S. Dinners & Dreams is featured on the UK’s Channel 4 site in the Jamie Oliver series Jamie Does. Take a look.

xo

 

11 Responses to “How Argan Oil is Made”

  1. 1

    Monique — 07/24/2012 @ 2:11 pm

    Wow ..very informative..I wish my hair would finally believe what it is supposed to do:)

  2. 2

    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — 07/24/2012 @ 10:09 pm

    I’ve never heard of argan oil before. Informative post!

    Congrats on the feature :)

  3. 3

    Eha — 07/25/2012 @ 6:28 am

    Have really enjoyed this post especially for three reasons: Firstly, argan oil is becoming a known entity here in Australia and I have a lot more info in hand thanks to you. I first heard about it when still on Facebook in Paula Wolfert’s group. Secondly, for some odd inexplicable reason, I thought I had been told the pits were used after they had passed thru’ the goats digestive system [yes, well!] and now I know better.. Thirdly, of course, for the photos – both of the process and the beautiful ones of the trees. Thank you so much :) !

  4. 4

    Laura — 07/25/2012 @ 7:02 am

    You’re presentation is so unique, love the pics, your interest and the knowledge

  5. 5

    Andrea Butje — 07/25/2012 @ 7:29 am

    Thanks for the great article, it was really informative and the pictures are wonderful!!

  6. 6

    Sandra Larsen — 07/25/2012 @ 7:37 am

    What a thrill to see mention of the golden treasure that so captured my imagination before, during & since my trip to Morocco as a freelance photo-journalist, guest of the government. I was introduced to the treasure by a Moroccan, now Canadian who is a great proponent of argan oil – aziz3@videotron.ca – who will be delighted to share information. He introduced me to someone who was instrmental in the womens’ cooperatives that enable women to educate their children. I interviewed a chef who was enthusiastic, and provided me with additional information and photos, before I made my own, seeing the amazing trees (and goats)! A treat (for me) is to add argan oil with fig infused vinegar over baby salad greens! I could wax passionately about the attributes of argan…cosmetically, medically and gastronomically, but there is a wealth of information available on-line, including this excellent article. Thank you for sharing!

  7. 7

    Jamila — 07/25/2012 @ 12:25 pm

    What beautiful pictures and lovely story. I recently came back from Morocco too and was very sad to leave family and friends. I hope you and your family enjoyed your time there.
    I always stack up on culinary argan oil and olive oil when I am in Morocco to bring back to Australia.
    My company Mira’s Hand in Australia sells Hammam Spa products that include also pure cosmetic Argan Oil. We work directly with a women’s coop in Morocco and go back every now to visit them and discuss future projects. Argan oil has helped the women in the region so very much.

    Thank you for your recipes, they bring back so many memories!

  8. 8

    Milly Garcia — 07/25/2012 @ 2:37 pm

    Love your article on argan oil–I wondered exactly how it was processed! I got to see the goats in the trees when we were in Morocco last summer. It’s impossible to believe the pictures are really true until you see those goats standing in the trees! Thanks for the wonderful pictures, too.

  9. 9

    Nisrine — 07/28/2012 @ 9:56 am

    Jamila, couscous cooperatives are equally booming and women are getting very creative with new kinds never tried before.

  10. 10

    Nisrine — 07/28/2012 @ 9:57 am

    Milly, I have never seen the goats on a tree other than in pictures. Lucky you!

  11. 11

    Terri Hirschmann — 02/02/2013 @ 2:09 pm

    Wow great post. Thanks for sharing :)

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