The argan tree (largania spinosa) grows only in one place in the world: in southwestern Morocco. From time immemorial, Berber women from around 30 kilograms of argan tree fruit gain 12 liters of laborious labor a liter of precious oil. Its use finds the oil 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. Unlike 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 open them up.
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
Argan oil is also produced by machine in a modern manufacturing process. The contact with water is avoided and the argan seeds are not roasted. The machine-made 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 gives salads, vegetable, fish and meat dishes a refined flavor and, due to 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 soothes 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 for 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 has the oil with the highest concentration of essential fatty acids (over 80%) - mainly linoleic acid and oleic acid.
Furthermore, there is a high level of natural antioxidants to protect against harmful free radicals. For example, argan oil is unusually rich in alpha tocopherol, which has the strongest vitamin E activity. Of particular interest to scientists are the argan oil-containing sterols, such as Schottenol and 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.