The argan tree (largania spinosa) grows only in one place in the world: in southwestern Morocco. Berber women have been gaining one liter of the precious oil from around 30 kilos of argan tree fruit in 12 hours of painstaking work. The oil finds its use in the upscale kitchen, but also in medicine and cosmetics. The Argana tree (Latin Argania spinosa) is one of the oldest trees in the world and has long been threatened with extinction. Since it grows only in Morocco and because of the existential importance for the people of the region, UNESCO has meanwhile declared the area to be a biosphere reserve. The argan tree is the "tree of life" for the inhabitants. It supplies people with lumber, fuel, food and an oil that is considered one of the world's most valuable foods: argan oil.
Extraction of argan oil
The argan fruit is harvested between July and September. In contrast to the olive, the oil of the argan tree can not be squeezed out of the fruit - every attempt is unsuccessful. So stay the Argankerne, which are collected and processed in real bone work to oil.
Even harvesting the fruits is not easy, as the trees have a very brittle wood and are provided with thorns. The Berbers wait until the fruits fall from the trees. Occasionally there is also a rumor among tourists that they drive their goats that eat the fruit into the trees, and - after they have cleared the kernels unscathed - collect the seeds and pitch them.
In each fruit are two to three almonds, which are traditionally roasted to refine the taste. Then they are ground by hand and kneaded with the help of boiled water. Only from this porridge is the argan oil pressed.
Modern production of argan oil
In a modern manufacturing process argan oil is also produced by machine. The contact with water is avoided and the argan seeds are not roasted. The machined argan oil is sold in Germany under the name "cold pressed". Despite modern technology, the traditional production of argan oil is becoming more popular again; not least because entire families live by the laborious production by hand.
Both traditional and machine-made argan oil in Morocco comply with EU guidelines for quality and hygiene and also allow the gentle production of organic argan oil; In addition, the production process of argan oil has no effect on its stability or durability.
Argan oil in gastronomy
Cold-pressed and classically produced argan oil are equally suitable for direct consumption and for use in the kitchen. Argan oil is a gourmet edible oil for the most demanding gastronomy. The celebrity chefs quickly realized that argan oil plays in the same league as truffles or caviar. This is also reflected in the price of the oil: A liter costs around 60 euros!
As an edible oil, argan oil adds a refined flavor to salads, vegetable, fish and meat dishes, and because of its natural composition is so healthy that it outshines even the best olive oil.
Argan oil for the skin and hair
For cosmetics, cold-pressed argan oil is usually used. Argan oil has an excellent effect as a skin and hair conditioner. It calms damaged, sensitive and impure skin with its high-quality ingredients and prevents dehydration and aging due to its moisturizing effect. The oil of the argan tree also helps the hair and is particularly suitable for hair care with brittle, dry hair.
Argan oil is not only delicious, but also really healthy - a real treasure. The reason: argan oil differs from many other oils by its valuable ingredients. So the oil with the highest concentration possesses essential fatty acids (over 80%) - mainly linoleic acid and oleic acid.
Furthermore, there is a high proportion natural antioxidants to protect against harmful free radicals. Argan oil is unusually rich in alpha tocopherol, which has the strongest vitamin E activity. Of particular interest to scientists are those contained in argan oil sterols, as Schottenol and also spinasterol.
The Berbers of Morocco have long used the oil for medical purposes, such. As for the treatment of stomach and intestinal problems, heart and circulatory difficulties but also in sunburn or for the disinfection of wounds. Traditional medicine knows the use of argan oil for acne, chickenpox, atopic dermatitis, rheumatism, joint pain and hemorrhoids.