Ever wondered where argan oil comes from? Along the route from Marrakech to Essaouira we came across some shepherds sitting along the road side, while their goats ate argan nuts directly from the Argan tree. They had constructed some small platforms for the goats to reach the tallest branches, where they proceeded to eat the outside shell, spitting the remainder on the ground. It was a pretty incredible sight to see.
Further down the road, about 20 minutes from Essaouira we visited a women’s co-operative that runs one of the largest Argan Oil co-ops in the region. Once the argan nuts are collected, the next stage involves cracking the argan nut to obtain the argan kernels.
Attempts to mechanise this process have been unsuccessful and it is still carried out by hand, making it a time-consuming and labour-intensive process. Berber women smash the argan nuts with stones to extract the kernels.
Kernels used to make argan oil for food use, are then gently roasted, while unroasted argan kernels are ground down and used in soap and oil for the skin, hair and other cosmetic purposes.
The brown-colored mash expels pure, unfiltered argan oil. After this, unfiltered argan oil is decanted into vessels.