Argan oil, the world’s most expensive oil, was dated back centuries ago. It started when the Berbers found a way to extract and use the argan oil. It is very tricky. Though we do have machineries that would do that for quality and quantity purposes, we are here to recall how the argan oil was traditionally extracted. There are seven main steps to go about in creating the finished product, argan oil: goats, pulp, crush, grind, mix, press and filter.
The goats are the initial step for this process. Because of the specific and unique structure of the tree’s branches, goats are able to climb up these trees and eat on the fruit. Now, Berbers would go after the dung and collect the hard shells left by the goats. These hard shells are then brought up to the station where they begin step two.
In this stage, they separate the exterior from the core of the nut. There would be one to three solids in each nut. To open the nut, they would put it in between of two stones and use it to crack it.
This is where the solids or the almonds called, “aqua”, are crushed to form a thick paste-like material. This stage has been very difficult that there wouldn’t be any type of machinery to replace the Berbers from doing it.
This is a very special and crucial stage. Berbers have to be careful in grinding the paste so that it can reach a specific consistency and texture. They will put the paste into a stone mill and they will grind it until they see a certain type of neutrality needed to create the oil. In this stage, the flavor is lessened. Though, the stone mill preserves the aroma and the nutty taste of the oil.
Mixing is a hand battle. This is a very tedious task. The strokes should be long and circular. After that, they would prepare the “tazquemout”, a loaf where they will put the paste for the next stage.
They then have to press this loaf, tazquemout, and extract oil from it. Once they have seen that there will be no oil to be extracted from the paste, they ready the extracted oil for filtration. Pressing helps maintain the nutrients of the oil.
This is the last stage of the process. The oil is filtered SEVERAL TIMES. Then you now have the world-renowned ‘argan oil.’
It would usually take about 20 to 30 days to fill up a liter of oil using this process. Luckily, there is now the incorporation of technology to help Berbers create argan oil faster. There are machines that hold up the standard for sanitation and quality of the oil that will be distributed all over the world. But, not to worry, because the Berbers are still the ones managing the progress of these machines. They are still upholding this hundred-year-old tradition of the argan oil.