Argan is a relative of the olive, and the goats ate the argan fruit. Argan is grown exclusively in the southwestern region of Morocco. It is difficult to cultivate and as a result, wild trees are precious. Argan oil is prized in Morocco and has recently been discovered by the West. It has been used for centuries for cooking and cosmetics. The oil is extracted from the kernel of the well.
There are many women’s cooperatives in the region that help poor women to work and educate their children. It is fascinating to see how experienced “crackers” take the small pit (imagine an olive pit), set against a large stone and with another small stone, cracks in the open pit in an attempt. I tried it and got a bloody thumb as my reward! Then the grains are ground in a past with the oil to be missed. You can see this is a very tedious and time-consuming procedure that explains the high price of argan products.
The tasting oil is delicious with a flavor of hazelnut smoke (due to roasting). It is used as a finishing oil for salads or fish or as a bread dip. According to Wikipedia, argan oil is exceptionally rich in natural tocopherols (vitamin E), rich in phenols and phenolic acid, rich in carotenes, rich in squalene, rich in essential fatty acids, 80% unsaturated fatty acids and according to the method more resistant to oxidation extraction than olive oil.
I love argan oil and always have a pot or two in my fridge where it can be kept indefinitely.