Everything You Need to Know About Moroccan Argan Oil

Everyone visiting Morocco will inevitably visit one of the local souks (market).  If you visit a souk in the south of Morocco, you will find many vendors selling this golden-brown liquid.  When a shop owner offers you a piece of bread and tells you to take a dip and give it a taste, what do you do??  Don’t be afraid, friend, go ahead and indulge in some tasty Moroccan Argan oil!

What is Moroccan Argan Oil?

Moroccan Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree that is uniquely found in Morocco. The Argan trees grow mostly towards the low coastal areas and in the mountains south of Marrakesh.  Bread served with oil to dip in is a staple breakfast food in Morocco.  Argan oil is a luxury item and is a real treat to dip bread in or to drizzle over couscous.  It also has a wide range of cosmetic applications.

Argan Trees in Morocco
Argan Trees in Morocco

Amlou is a tasty dipping condiment made from Argan oil.  It is a thick brown paste with a consistency similar to peanut butter and is produced by grinding roasted almond and argan oil together using a stone mill, and also mixed with honey.  Be warned; this stuff is highly addictive!

Cosmetic

Moroccan argan oil has become increasingly popular for cosmetic use.  It is sold without additives as natural skincare and hair care product.  It can be used as a skin moisturizer, hair conditioner, nail treatment, and lip moisturizer, just to name a few!

Bottles of Cosmetic Argan Oil
Bottles of Cosmetic Argan Oil

Extraction Process

Some argan oil producers will make use of goats in the production process!  The goats will climb the trees and feed freely on the fruits. They will then poop out the undigestable seeds, which are afterward retrieved to make argan products (yes, you read that correctly!)  This process considerably reduces the work involved in extracting the kernels.

Goats in Argan Trees in Morocco
Goats in Argan Trees in Morocco

If goats aren’t used, workers will have to extract the kernels by hand, making it a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. This process is a source of employment for many Berber women in the country. At present, argan oil production supports over 2 million people in the main argan oil-producing region of Morocco.

Be sure to pay a visit to one of the many Moroccan Argan Oil Co-Operatives and see the production process for yourself!

Nuts to Make Argan Oil
Nuts to Make Argan Oil

Buying Moroccan Argan Oil

Moroccan argan oil, being a rare and luxury item, unfortunately, is not cheap!  The best places to get oil from would be the local co-ops.  When it comes time to buy, don’t be afraid to haggle. Everything is negotiable! Usually, a good counteroffer to their initial price is half the original asking price, and you’ll likely settle somewhere in between. For the more adventurous in spirit, take a trip down the beaten path.  There are hidden gems all throughout the country.  If you don’t like bargaining, it might be a good idea to have your guide buy it for you, as he will have a better idea of the current price of argan oil.

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About the author

Joshua Mok is a cultural enthusiast and adventurer who can speak 6 different languages. Joshua currently lives in Tunisia and has firsthand experience with the language, people, and culture of North Africa. At Mosaic North Africa, Joshua is combining his business marketing expertise with his passion for travel to help others discover and enjoy the cultural and historical beauties of Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.

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