The preparation of the argan oil
Argan oil production is a female preserve except at harvest time, when many hands are involved in the collecting and drying of the fruits. After the harvest the family left the fruits out in the sun for several weeks to dry. The fruit turns from green and soft to brown and dry, when it is much easier to remove shell of the hard nut. The preparation of the argan oil requires long hours of hard and phsical work, but the nut shell cracking mostly carried out by women of all ages, especially if traditional methods are used. The most time-consuming and difficult part is the nut cracking, because the shell has to be broken open individually. The argan nut is one of the hardest (16 times harder than hazelnut) and it must be cracked by hand. The machines proved to be less efficient, because they damaged the fragile kernels. The local women use a stone to crack each nut open to reveal the small oil-rich seeds, which contain the argan oil. On average from 6.5 kg of argan almonds provides 2-2,5 litres of oil and requires 3 hours. No chemicals or heat are used in the production of argan oil, so its healing properties and nutritive content remain unchanged. This makes it perfect for skin and hair use.