|Authentic benefits, exquisite taste
With a soft aroma and slightly nutty flavor, argan oil makes an interesting and pleasing accompaniment to most any raw or lightly grilled foods. Rich with antioxidant phytochemicals and essential fatty acids, argan oil is valued world-wide for its unique health-giving properties. This particular ZAD culinary argan oil is hand-harvested in a way that not only preserves the delicate nutrient balance distinct to this healthy fat, but also the deep Moroccan tradition and bright culture that surrounds it.
A Culinary Tradition-
Although argan oil is popular for its cosmetic applications, such as adding shine to hair and restoring luster to skin, this beautiful golden oil is also cherished internationally for culinary and medicinal purposes. In native Moroccan cuisine, argan oil is used liberally to season dishes, acting as a condiment in salads and adding flavor to tagines, couscous, grilled vegetables and desserts. Great chefs in Europe have also borrowed this secret, using the smooth qualities of argan oil to add depth and warmth to their exquisite dishes. Now, you can experience the coveted taste and aroma of traditionally made argan oil in your own kitchen!
Health Profile of Argan Oil-
Argan oil is about 80% unsaturated fat by composition, of which about 32% is essential linoleic fatty acids and 47% oleic acid. Although it has a certain resemblance to olive oil, argan oil is actually more stable and almost three times richer in vitamin E. The high content of linoleic acid and tocopherols gives it the unique capacity to reduce rates of inflammation and neutralize free radicals within the body. As a dynamic healthy fat, argan oil has been found to prevent oxidation and aging, while simultaneously stimulating digestion and boosting brain power. Argan oil contains rare sterol molecules and phytochemicals that cannot be found in other plant-derived oils. Modern research has linked the following advantages to argan oil consumption.
Not Just Any Argan Oil-
- Powerful anti-oxidant action
- Stimulates the nervous system and builds brain capacity
- Reduces joint and rheumatism pain
- Calms hypertensive tendencies
- Facilitates digestion by increasing pepsin
- Stabilizes blood sugar/insulin levels
Argan oil is produced from the fruit kernels of the "Argania Spinosa" or Argan Tree, endemic to Morocco. Two very different processes are used to extract the oil: the high-impact mechanical techniques employed by big companies, and the traditional manual pressure practice used in small native cooperatives. As you can imagine, these methods have quite different impacts not only on the quality of the oil, but also on the social structures of local peoples and sustainability of Argan forests.
ZAD argan oils are produced exclusively by local Berber women cooperatives using traditional small-batch, hand-craft methods. The argan fruits are harvested from stands of trees and left to dry on the roofs of mud houses. The pits are then manually removed with the help of two stones. A thin protective skin is peeled off, and the pits are subject to a light toasting, a key step for giving the oil its distinct savory flavor. The slightly heated pits are then ground and slowly kneaded in traditional stone mills to produce a creamy paste. After about 30 minutes of continuous mixing, and with the careful addition of small amounts of boiled water, the precious oil slowly dissociates from the rest of the paste. This shimmering golden liquid is argan oil in its true form.
Q. What is culinary argan oil used for?
A. Argan oil is used similarly to olive oil, and is best for raw and lightly grilled dishes. Argan oil has a slightly nutty flavor that lends itself well to salads, or drizzled over warm meat and veggie dishes.
Q. What are the health benefits of argan oil?
A. Argan oil has been valued for centuries for its distinctive culinary and medicinal applications. This oil is rich in linoleic and oleic fatty acids, anti-oxidants, vitamin E and healing phytochemiclas that are rare in plant-derived fats. As a stable unsaturated fat, argan oil has been shown to block oxidation, reduce inflammation and even help to prevent chronic disease.
Q. Is this oil responsibly sourced and sustainable?
A. Most argan oils available in the US are machine extracted in a way that not only damages delicate nutrients, but also poses a serious threat to sustainability of the environment and people of Morrocco from where it is harvested. ZAD argan oil is unique in that it is handmade in small batches using traditional methods in a way that preserves the integrity of the forests, and supports the local culture and community where it is made.
Q. Why so expensive?
A. About 30 kg of fruit are needed to produce just one liter of argan oil; that's the harvest of approximately 5 trees. Given the intricate process of crushing the nuts by hand, local Berber women work almost a day and a half to produce just one liter of oil. This explains the price of this original hand pressed argan oil, and the high esteem associated with this product.
Q. How should argan oil be stored? What is its shelf life?
A. Argan oil should be stored in a cool dark place. Stored properly, argan oil has a shelf life of 2 years from date of manufacture.