Argan Oil

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

argan oil a rare foodstuff of limited use outside Morocco, but sufficiently exotic to require a mention here, all the more so as small quantities have begun to appear in western countries, commanding a high price.

The oil comes from the fruit stones of Argania spinosa (also known as Sideroxylon argania). Tradition has it that the stones are first processed by goats which, amazingly, climb up the argan trees, sometimes to the very top, eat the fruits, and then after a digestive process eject the hard seeds ready for processing. However, the technical description of the extraction of the oil which has been given by Aufray and Perret (1995) suggests that in SW Morocco, where the argan trees are to be found, manufacture of the oil is normally carried out by people living in the area without the prior intervention of goats.