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Argan Oil

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Tradition and Gastronomy : Argan oil has a strong and untamed taste. In the Berber tradition, it plays an important role in the preparation of choice meals, or used plain and pure on bread or in seasonings.

Explore its infinite possibilities in salads, tagines, couscous, to marinate roasted peppers and tomatoes, and to enhance semolina or cuscus dishes. As a sweet delight, it stars in the preparation of amlou , an exquisite treat to serve guests (a rich paste of argan oil, crushed almonds, and honey), and reputed to have aphrodisiac qualities!

Recently, argan oil has entered European cuisine, introduced by great chefs inspired by its original flavor. We may experience its unique character at the base of a great range of seasonings, often associated with fish dishes, flavorful meat dishes and carpaccios. We can savor it in combination with strong, preferably demi sec (half dry) cheeses or as a marinade for a tender goat’s cheese with a sprig of fresh coriander.


Botany : The argan tree, Argania spinosa L., in the Sapotaceae family, is a tree endemic to Morocco, and a botanical curiosity. Its geographical habitat covers 800,000 hectares in the vast region of Essaouira-Agadir.
Argan tree

It is a tree that can reach over 10 meters of height and 200 years of age.  Spiny and semi-evergreen, its leaves can fall in response to prolonged droughts, allowing the tree to survive in a kind of dormancy.  Its short trunk which hardly ever grows over 2 meters tall for a unique specimen, may reach 1.5 meters in diameter, and has the texture of a snake or a reptile’s skin, smooth when in its youth, and becoming rougher with age.
The leaves are small, lanceolate, and tough.  It flowers in spring or in autumn, depending on climatic conditions. The hermaphroditic flowers are a yellowish-green color. The fruit is an ovoid, green drupe. The maturation of the fruit occurs between May and September.

An endangered forest : A dahir (decree) dating from March 4, 1925, protects the argan forests under supreme federal law, but the usufruct (fruits, pasturage, and wood) are left to the local population. In response to overexploitation that endangered this forest, the argan forest has been classed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1998.
(The MAB program of UNESCO)

Manufacture of the Oil (two methods are used) : 

The traditional ancestral method :
The fruits are gathered and sundried.  The dried fruits are cleaned of their pulp, and the nutshells are cracked between two rocks by Berber women. The fleshy ‘almonds’ are selected, then lightly roasted in an earthen plate over a wood fire, fed with the argan shells.  The grilled ‘almonds’ are then crushed into a paste with the aid of a handpowered stone press.  This paste is worked by hand while adding lukewarm water until the oil gradually separates and floats to the top. The oil is finally skimmed and poured into recipients of good fortune.  The whole procedure is extremely time consuming; it takes about 10 to 12 hours of work to extract only 1 liter of oil. 

Manufacture of our Argan Oil :   
The collection process remains the same; it is only the most labor intensive stages of the process which have been mechanized.  The almonds are toasted in a sort of roaster, and pressed in a mechanical press.  Only mechanical methods are used, no chemicals or even water are used.  The oil is decanted, filtered, and bottled.

We obtain an oil similar to the style of the traditional oil, with an amber colouring,  which is called “toasted argan oil”.

If the almonds are not toasted, we obtain a yellowish oil, called “cold pressed” or “untoasted argan oil”.

Both oils have similar properties and can be used for cooking and cosmetics.  

However, we recommend the toasted argan oil for the kitchen, because of its heightened flavor, and the untoasted argan oil, which has a more neutral smell and flavor, for external use. 


argan nut
traditionaly toasting

amandons d'argan

Mature fruit
Argan almonds (kernel)
Natural almonds
Toasted almonds

According to the manufacturing regulations for the label "Organic Agriculture" only fruits with their skin intact can be used.  This is a guarantee that the fruits regurgitated by goats (they love argan nuts too) are excluded from the manufacturing process.
An adult tree gives between 6 and 8 kg of nuts. 100 kg of fruits contain about 5 kg of the ‘almonds’, which can be pressed for about 2 kg of oil. Therefore 6 to 7 trees must be harvested for only 1 liter of oil!

Physiochemical characteristic and composition of the oil:

Principal fatty acids (99%) Composition of the insaponifiable (1%)

Palmitic C16 :0 = 12 - 13,4
Stearic C18 :0 = 5.1
Oleic C18 :1 = 44.8
Linoleic C18 :2 = 35.7
Linolenic C18 :3 = 0.3
Arachidonic C18 :3 = 0.3

Réf: Khallouki F and coll . Eur J Cancer Prev , 12(1):67-75. 2003

Sterols (mg/100g) = 295
Schottenol = 142
Spinasterol = 115
campesterol = 12
others = 38 
Tocopherols (mg/100g) = 62
Alpha = 3.5
Delta = 12.5
Gamma = 48
Polyphenols  (µg/Kg oil) =3263
Vanillic acid = 67
Syringic acid =37
Ferulic acid = 3147

Tyrosol = 12

Argan oil was officially authorized as a food product in 2002 after review of an alimentary folder that our company placed under review by the AFSSA (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments) and the DGCCRF (Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes)

Health Benefits:

Argan oil's health benefits are due to the presence of unsaturated fatty acids, mainly composed of oleic acid and linoleic acid. The latter is of the Omega 6 family, called "Essential Omega"; essential because it is indispensable to the healthy functioning of our organism, which can't synthesize through its own means, meaning it must be supplied through diet.
Oleic acid plays a regulating role in the metabolism of lipids and cholesterol. Important derivatives result from its transformation, for example, those which help constitute the protective sheath of myelin surrounding nerve fibers.
Linoleic acid (Omega 6) is indispensable to life, playing an essential role in maintaining the health of the skin (elasticity and wound healing), and the integrity of intracellular organite membranes.

A deficiency in Omega-6 leads to problems in growth, renal functions and arterial tension, as well as skin lesions. Linoleic acid helps prevent cardiovascular illnesses and contributes in the lowering of high cholesterol levels. This oil is also rich in tocopherols which work like vitamin E : the most powerful antioxidant agent, which neutralizes free radicals, and has the protective effect of oil against oxidation.

Linoleic acid helps prevent cardiovascular illnesses and contributes to lowering cholesterol level.

Virgin toasted
Argan oil
Virgin untoasted Argan oil

for flavorful recipes

cosmetic and massages

Cosmetic Benefits : Applied to the skin, argan works against physiological aging. It strengthens hair. In the Moroccan pharmacopoeia, one recommends it against acne, burns, and chapped skin. Numerous laboratories are using this oil in a wide range of products. Ideal for massages or add a few drops to the bath.
 
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