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How is moroccan argan oil made?

Argan oil, also known as liquid or Moroccan gold, I one of the most precious oils in the world. Manufactured in only one place in the world- Morocco, production of this oil is exceedingly difficult.  It takes a lot of work, experience and time.

It all begins with a tree, namely the Argan tree, which grows in Morocco. It is rare because all attempts to grow it anywhere else have failed. Areas of growth have even been registered in the World Heritage of UNESCO. Argan fruits are ripe around June and July when they start to take on a yellow colour. Argan oil is then made using two different techniques – traditional, handmade method or using modern technology.

Traditional method

Production of argan oil is traditionally handled by Moroccan women. When the fruits are ripe a fall to the ground, women pick them by hand and let them dry in the sun. Argan nuts are afterwards smashed using two strong rocks. Fruits are extremely sturdy and opening them is difficult, which is why this process takes a lot of experience and skill.

Cores are after that grounded and cold-pressed. The result is golden Argan oil, that is collected, filtered and bottled. The whole production process is slow and difficult. One Moroccan woman must work for three days and use approximately 30kg (65 lbs.) of raw fruits to make one litre of oil (33 oz).  This is the reason why traditional argan oil is so rare and precious.

Modern mechanical pressing

The disadvantage of the traditional method is lower content of nutrients and a higher ratio of water.  Because of this, locals have in last years started to use modern methods of oil extraction.  Thanks to high demand, many Moroccan farms can now afford to buy modern mechanical presses, which can extract and cold-press the oil.

Mechanical press makes the whole process a lot simpler and faster.  The huge advantage of this method is the lower ratio of water in the final product, which makes the oil more nutritious and long-lasting.

Interesting facts about Argan oil manufacturing:

  • One Argan tree can produce 120-180 kg of fruit (250-400 lbs.)
  • In a good year, the argan tree can produce up to 5 litres of oil (1,5 gal.)
  • Argan tree can grow up to 8-10 meters (25-30 ft.) in height and live to 200 years
  • Moroccan king has declared that only women can work in the Argan farming industry, to stay true to the tradition.

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