The Argan Nut - precious fruit of the Argan tree

Argan nut
The Argan Nut

While the argan nut is brown, the fruit resembles a mixture of a yellow plum and an olive. The fruit can vary in size, depending on the particular argan tree, its location and the current climate. The argan nut has an extremely hard shell and includes two or three seeds or almonds, similar to sunflower seeds. With a content of 50 to 60 percent, they are very rich in precious Argan oil.

The Argania’s Perfect Adaptation to Climate

The fruit tastes very bitter, therefore the argan nut is inedible for humans. Since there are extreme weather conditions in Morocco, the argan tree has optimally adjusted and at the same time it undergoes several growing seasons. During abundant rainfall years, the argania can grow three generations of argan nuts and flowers, with the argan nuts showing different degrees of maturity. An argan tree bears fruit after five years and yields its best crop when it is about 60 years old. The crop then can reach a maximum of 30 to 40 kilograms.

The Argan Tree as Multigenerational

The pulp of the argan nut is low in fat, but has a rich content of glucose and protein. It is harvested in September to May by the Berber women. The fruit can only be gathered from the ground in order not to damage it.

With the first rainfall in October, fresh leaves start to show on the argan tree and last year’s still tiny argan nuts begin their maturation. The annual saplings grow fresh flowers again. In January new branches sprout and in February, a sea of flowers grows on the fresh as well as on last year's branches.

The young argan nuts grown from the fresh flowers now stop their growth until next fall and the older argan nuts ripen rapidly. In June, the young twigs also stop further growth and during July, the argan nuts of last year's flowers almost reach absolute ripeness.

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