For centuries, the Berber tribes of southwestern Morocco have turned to argan oil as a basic component of their diet and as an element of traditional medicine. At the beginning of the nineties, biochemical analyzes already confirmed the valuable nutritional and medicinal properties of this product. The argan (‘Argania spinosa’) is a wild tree, unique in the world and declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1999. It is endemic to semi-desert calcareous lands such as those of southwestern Morocco and the Algerian region of Tindouf.
The production is carried out manually, with the separation of the pulp from the fruit and the subsequent opening of the walnut
The argan fruits, similar to a date, ripen between March and September, when they are collected to extract their oil, light amber and transparent, which has a strong and pleasant flavor with a slight aroma of dried fruits. The production is carried out, to a large extent, manually, which involves a laborious task that begins with the separation of the pulp from the fruit and the subsequent opening of the walnut.
Each nut keeps about three seeds inside that can be roasted or left raw, crushed and subsequently ground in a stone mill. The product obtained is a paste with a consistency similar to a sesame cream, which is left to rest for a week in a cool, dark place. Subsequently, the women make dough balls that they expressUse your hands to get the oily liquid.
With this nutritious pasta, the ‘amlou’, a kind of sponge cake is made that is taken with breakfast. Approximately two liters of oil are extracted from 100 kilos of fruit, and it is estimated that each liter requires about 10 hours of work. It has been used for hundreds of years by Berber communities in a traditional way as a medicinal and invigorating food that also has cosmetic properties.
Argan oil is sold in Morocco as a luxury item and, due to the growing interest shown by European and North American cosmetic companies since 2000-2001, its price has risen considerably (a 250 ml bottle can cost around 17 euros).
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