Argan oil is very popular in cosmetic formulations as well as in hair care. Argan oil is excellent for helping hair combat breakage. The high vitamin E content also smoothens and hydrates and helps hair guard against split ends. I have covered argan oil for hair and beauty purposes extensively in the past (links to previous articles below). However, this is the first time I’m touching on argan oil for cooking purposes.
Argan oil is produced from the green nut of a tree native to Morocco. This tree is only found in the south-western part of the country and is protected by UNESCO. It’s the main source of income for the Berber people who live in the region, and is made exclusively by the women.
The argan fruit is first dried in open air, then the fleshy pulp is removed to reveal the nut. The nut is cracked to obtain the kernels, a manual labour intensive and time-consuming process. Afterwards, the kernels are ground and pressed to extract the oil.
What’s the Difference Between Cosmetic Argan Oil & Culinary Argan Oil?
When the kernels extracted from the nuts are ground and pressed to extract the unfiltered oil, we have the oil that’s used for beauty and cosmetics purposes. This oil is a bright yellow.
For culinary purposes however, the kernels are lightly roasted before grinding and pressing. The result is a rich golden brown, creamy and nutty flavoured edible oil. The toasting process makes the oil unsuitable for cosmetic use but it’s perfect for cooking.
What Are the Health Benefits of Culinary Argan Oil?
Some of the health benefits of consuming argan oil includes:
- Lowering bad cholesterol levels and improving overall heart health.
- Eliminating free radicals in the body.
- Improving quality of new hair and nail growth.
3 Ways to Use Argan Oil for Cooking
- It adds a distinct flavour to dishes and is a great accompaniment salad dressings, sauces and soups.
- Use it as a dipping for bread.
- Blend with honey and almonds for a great spread. This dish is very popular in Morocco and is known as Amlou. Almonds are roasted and ground finely, then the argan oil is slowly stirred into it and finished off with honey and salt.
Though culinary argan oil is suitable in cooking, it’s not a good idea to use it for high temperature cooking and frying. Olive oil still remains the best oil to use for this. However, you can use it for sautéing, pan searing meat and other low to medium heat applications. To get the best benefits though, use it in dishes that don’t involve heat applications.
Where to Purchase Argan Oil
- For culinary purposes, Essence of Argan Argan Oil & Dip & Scoop Culinary Argan Oil.
- For cosmetic purposes, Elm & Sana Argan Oil, Molivera Organics Argan Oil & pura d’or Argan Oil.
Always purchase fair trade, ethically sourced argan oil.
Previous Argan Oil Articles
- Hydrate & Smoothen Your Hair with Argan Oil
- How to Use Argan Oil on Hair
- 6 Ways to Tell If Your Argan Oil isn’t Authentic
- Argan Oil & Pomegranate Oil All in One Moisturising Treatment for Skin
- Ultimate Oil Mix for Detangling After Taking Down Extensions