Wikipedia article about Argan Oil

Argan oil

Main article: Argan oil

Argan oil is produced by several women's co-operatives in southwest Morocco. The most labour intensive part of oil-extraction is removal of the soft pulp (used as animal feed) and the cracking by hand, between two stones, of the hard nut. The seeds are then removed and gently roasted. This roasting accounts for part of the oil's distinctive, nutty flavour. The traditional technique for oil extraction is to grind the roasted seeds to paste, with a little water, in a stone rotary quern. The paste is then squeezed between hands to extract the oil. The extracted paste is still oil-rich and is used as animal feed. Oil produced by this method will keep 3-6 months, and will be produced as needed in a family, from a store of the kernels, which will keep for 20 years unopened. Dry-pressing is now increasingly important for oil produced for sale, as the oil will keep 12–18 months and extraction is much faster.

The oil contains 80% unsaturated fatty acids, is rich in essential fatty acids and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. Argan oil is used for dipping bread, on couscous, salads and similar uses. A dip for bread known as amlou is made from argan oil, almonds and peanuts, sometimes sweetened by honey or sugar. The unroasted oil is traditionally used as a treatment for skin diseases, and has found favor with European cosmetics manufacturers.

Argan oil is sold in Morocco as a luxury item (although difficult to find outside the region of production) and is of increasing interest to cosmetics companies in Europe. It was difficult to buy the oil outside Morocco but by 2001-2002 became a fashionable food in Europe and North America. It is now widely available in specialist shops and occasionally in supermarkets. Its price (USD$40-50 for 500 ml) is notable compared to other oils.

Argan oil contains:

44% Oleic acid
30% Alpha-linolenic acid
12% Palmitic acid
6% Stearidonic acid
5% Linoleic acid
3% Myristic acid

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