Production and processing of organic argan oil in Morocco

Argan oil for food and cosmetic argan oil is a product known primarily in Western Europe. In recent years, pure argan oil has appeared more and more on the counters of our sellers.

The production volume of argan oil is limited. According to official figures, only 4 million liters of 100% argan oil are produced annually, which is a negligible amount. For example up to 1.8 billion liters of olive oil are produced.

The original Berber inhabitants of Morocco have always produced argan oil by hand and used it for healing, cosmetic and food purposes.

Cosmetic argan oil is made from the unroasted shelled kernels of the argania spinosa tree, while food grade oil is made from the roasted seeds. Thanks to this, the cooking oil has a more pronounced aroma.

After pressing, the argan oil is filtered. The purity of argan oil depends on the number of filtrations. Organic argan oil can have a slight sediment that is easily mixed, which usually does not mean a deterioration in quality.

How is argan oil obtained from the fruits of the argania spinosa tree?

Argan oil is obtained today in three ways:

  • traditional manual "kneading of the argan mixture"
  • by machine pressing
  • then also more often by chemical extraction.

Handmade production of argan oil

This oldest method is still used in Morocco, mainly in rural areas and some women's factories. The argan kernels are ground using manual stone grinders to a thick brown paste, which is then mixed with the addition of water. The oil that is separated from the paste by kneading is collected.

A solid argan mixture remains from the paste, which after drying is used as animal feed. Although traditionally produced argan oil is chemical-free and has the same quality as cold-pressed oil, it often contains a large amount of impurities that enter it through manual mixing and contact with water.

Production of argan oil in a Berber cooperative

The machine pressing method is most often encountered today in women's manufactories - associations of women who have decided to change their traditional role in society.

In this case, stainless steel pressing machines are used to produce argan oil, which grind argan kernels into a paste and press 100% argan oil from the paste. Because the machine is cold-pressed and the argan paste does not come into contact with water, the argan oil produced in this way is closest to its natural form, retains its pleasant aroma and high quality.

In the case of cosmetic argan oil, the scent has a slightly nutty touch and in the case of food grade argan oil, an intense nutty scent.

Pressed argan oil may also contain a slight cloudiness that indicates the residue of the argan paste from which it was pressed. Machine pressing, as well as manual production, does not allow obtaining all the oil from the argan kernels, which increases production costs.

Beware of chemical oil extraction:

As a result of the effort to maximize profit, factories have recently been built in Morocco for the production of argan oil by chemical extraction. Although these factories are able to churn out large quantities of oil at very low prices, the quality of the oil is very poor because chemical solvents are used in the extraction. With their help, the largest possible amount of oil can be obtained from the paste.

Argan oil produced under such conditions is characterized by a low representation of active substances and may also contain a smaller amount of chemical substances that were used in production.

Argan oil produced by chemical extraction differs from the first two - it is "greasy", sterile clean - it never contains a fine pasty haze and has no smell.

Such oil is most often imported to the European Union, where it is filled and sold as "quality argan oil" in countries such as the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, France, Italy, and England.

It is the most common type of argan oil that you can find outside of Morocco. In Morocco, this argan oil is often available mainly in supermarkets and markets. It is also often offered at very attractive prices.



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