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.
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.