Argan Nut Oil—Powerful Vitamin E Comes in Small Packages

Argan nut oil is the rarest vegetable oil in the world. It has been used for centuries by the Berbers, who have depended on the tree for fuel, shelter and food, getting a quarter of their daily fat intake from the oil. Known as “Liquid Gold”, Argan nut oil is rich in essential Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (Oleic acid), with 80% unsaturated essential fatty acids.  One contributing factor to its rarity is the complexity and labor it takes to extract the oil itself. The argan nut is one of the hardest known nuts, and the process of removing the kernel or kernels (there can be up to 3) inside remains largely manual and labor intensive. One tree typically yields just one gallon of oil, and the fruit takes over a year to mature.

Traditionally, Argan nut oil is extracted by women. The ripe-fruit pulp and peel are discarded, then argan nuts are carefully broken with stones and the kernels are air dried in clay containers and roasted by mild heating. Roasted kernels are then cooled into a brown dough. The dough is mixed with water and hand pressed, which distills the oil, leaving a solid cake behind. The process can take up to ten hours.

Recently, a semi-mechanical process has been developed to extract the oil. Using this technique renders combining the dough with water unnecessary, and the dough can be directly pressed. All other steps remaining unchanged, but only two hours are needed to get one liter of oil that preserves correctly.

Jedwards’ bulk Organic Virgin Argan Nut Oil is characterized by high levels of linoleic and oleic acids, tocopherols, and minor compounds such as sterols, carotenoids and squalene. Its antioxidant capacity is higher relative to other vegetable oils. Its high content of oleic fatty acids (45%) is higher than other vegetable oils as well. It is richer in tocopherols than olive and sunflower oils. Although some semi-mechanical processes have been developed to reduce production time from 20 hours to 2 hours per liter, the traditional method extracts higher tocopherols than the semi-industrial extraction.

Argan nut oil has always been primarily a nutritional oil—it has a rich, exotic flavor and excellent fatty acid balance. In the last decade, however, its high Vitamin E content has endeared it to the cosmetic industry, and it now features prominently in a variety of skin creams and hair treatments. It does have a distinct odor however, and many people prefer to use our naturally deodorized bulk Organic Virgin Argan Nut Oil so as to not affect the smell of their final product, whether it be in soap making or hair products. On the culinary side, Argan oil has a rich nutty flavor, and is more resistant to oxidation than olive oil. Take advantage of this precious oil!

Click here to check out Jedward’s wholesale pricing of bulk organic virgin argan oil.