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Amazing Argan Oil

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Argan Oil Being Produced in the Traditional Way
Argan Oil Being Produced in the Traditional Way
Argan oil is an oil produced from the fruits of the Argan (Argania spinosa) a species of tree endemic to the calcareous semi-desert of southwestern Morocco. The argan oil is slightly darker than olive oil and has a nutty flavor.

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[edit] Why should I be aware of this?

The oil, which is said to have restorative and age-defying effects, has become one of the latest miracle ingredients in the beauty industry. High in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it is believed to help all sorts of skin conditions: dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles.

[edit] Argan oil and health

Organic Argan Oil is very rich in Vitamin F (Omega 6), known to be great for anti-aging and anti-dryness of skin. Vitamin E, A powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory for sensitive skin, UV protection, and aids in cutaneous micro-circulation. Also neutralizes free radical.

Phenols, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, powerful against fungus and bacteria, activates blood circulation and activates Vitamin C. Triterpens, restructure cells, is anti-inflammatory and slows down cell aging. Squalene, suggested to prevent against skin cancer.

[edit] All about amazing Argan oil

Moroccans believe that Argan Oil is great for babies skins too -- and they also drizzle it over salads and couscous, or using it to make amlou, a tahini-like spread of the oil, almonds and honey.

It is the sole species in the genus Argania. The Argan tree now grows only in southwest Morocco. It is believed to date back 25,000,000 years and to have once covered North Africa.

It was first reported by the explorer Leo Africanus in 1510. An early specimen was taken to Amsterdam and then cultivated by Lady Beaufort at Badminton c1711. Now only 8600 square kilometers remain in southwest Morocco and these are declining at a rate of 500 km² per year.

The Argan tree is a very resistant tree which can live from 150 to 200 years. It is perfectly adapted to the aridity of the South Western regions of Morocco. Its roots grow deep in search of water and thus help retain the soil, preventing erosion and limiting the advance of the desert. It plays a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance and the economic situation of the population. In 1999, UNESCO added the Argan tree to the World Heritage List.

[edit] How Argan oil is extracted

Traditionally, Argan Oil was extracted manually. First, the hard shell was cracked open to extract the nuts. These were roasted by mild heating and once cooled, ground in a stone rotary grinder. Latter the kernels were hand-mixed with mild water to form a dough. It was from the dough that the oil would be extracted by hand.

Recently mechanical presses have been introduced to extract argan oil. This process reduces considerably the time needed to extract 1 liter of oil. Once the kernels are roasted, the mechanical press takes care of the grinding and extraction. More oil is extracted and since no water is added to press the dough, the oil can be stocked longer.

However, the nuts are still cracked by hand.

[edit] What can I do?

  • One should never heat Argan Oil as it contains polyunsaturated fatty acids. Instead it should be added for flavour and nutrition to steamed or broiled food. It may also be used sparingly in salad dressing.
  • It is better to keep the oil refrigerated. Once it has been opened, one must consume Argan Oil quickly.
  • Argan Oil is best stored in small and opaque bottles.
  • Argan oil is also used in the preparation of Amlou (which has aphrodisiac virtues), a mix of almonds, honey and argan oil. It is delicious on toasts.
  • Use it to moisturise the skin, pretty much as you would use Olive Oil.

[edit] CopperBytes

  • Nothing is wasted when Argan Oil is extracted -- the crushed nuts left over after the oil has been extracted, make an excellent cattle feed. The hard shell of the nuts is burnt as fuel.
  • For centuries, Berber women of this region have produced argan oil which was used for their consumption and traditional Moroccan medicine.
  • In less than a century, more than a third of the argan forest has disappeared.
  • Legend has it that there’s another way to produce this precious oil: Breaking open the nut shells is really hard work and the Moroccans have found that it’s easier wait for their goats to eat the fruit (yes, goats are big fans of argan fruit. They’ll even try to climb trees in search of this succulent treat!) The seeds pass through the goat’s digestive track and emerge on the other end a bit softer since they’re partially digested. So, all the Moroccans have to do is follow the goats around and wait for the seeds to… uh, reappear.

[edit] References

  • EDEN
  • New York Times Article on Argan Oil
  • About Argan Oil
  • organic Argan Oil

[edit] See Also