Zoubida Charrouf and the Story Behind Morocco’s Argan Oil – CNN’s African Voices

CNN, African Voices, by Errol Barnett (March 10, 2014) — Zoubida Charrouf is a professor and research scientist in Morocco who wanted to save the argan tree forests, which are indigenous to Morocco and deeply rooted in the country’s culture and history, but were in danger of being squeezed out between the advances of rapid regional development and the encroachment of the vast Sahara desert.

With her research, Charrouf discovered that argan oil, with its unique cosmetic and culinary qualities, could be the key to both saving the argan tree and empowering rural Berber women who had little opportunity for employment or education. Until, that is, the passion of one professor unlocked the door to what is now a remarkable story of environmental success and women’s empowerment.

CNN’s Errol Barnett interviews Zoubida Charrouf, the mother of the argan oil revolution in Morocco, in a three-part series for African Voices:

 

Watch it here:

Part 1: Passion drives Moroccan professor

Part 2: Inside Morocco’s argan oil co-op

Part 3: The business of argan oil

FREE postage and handling!*

FREE-5

We changed our policy and are now offering FREE STANDARD POSTAGE AND HANDLING on all orders Australia wide!

Also, if your order is over $60, you will receive FREE EXPRESS POSTAGE AND HANDLING.

Order before 1pm and your order is posted out to you the same day.

Happy shopping!

*Australia only

Jamila

50% off our complete range!

50% off our complete range

For only 24 hours starting at 31 December 00.01am AEST

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I believe the way we leave the old year and enter the new year is how the year will be marked. To start the new year I clean the house, put on crisp sheets, burn incense and have my Moroccan Hammam at home ritual before the clock strikes midnight. You can download my free booklet on how to recreate your very own hammam at home here.

As we come to the end of the year, I want to thank you for your continuous support.

From 31 December at 00.01 to 23.59, before the clock strikes at midnight, I am offering you the most amazing deal of the year – 50% off on all our products on our website!*

100% Pure Moroccan Argan Oil
$39.90 SALE PRICE  $19.95


Moroccan Body Moisturiser with Argan Oil
$29.90 SALE PRICE $14.95

Moroccan Rose Water Toning Mist
$19.90 SALE PRICE $9.95

Moroccan Savon Noir
$29.90 SALE PRICE $14.95

Moroccan Rhassoul Clay
$34.90 SALE PRICE $17.45

Moroccan Exfoliating Glove
$19.90 SALE PRICE $9.95

As most of you are on holidays and are not near a computer or phone all the time, we are happy to take pre-orders, Email us with your order list. Orders over $60 receive free Express Postage (Australia only).

I wish you a happy, joyful and healthy 2014!

Jamila El Maroudi
Director
Mira’s Hand 

*this offer excludes Mira’s Hand Hammam at home set

making Moorish memories

One of my fondest food memories is eating Tunisian spaghetti at my uncle’s house in Noyon, a little town in France.

I was ten years old. My uncle’s nice Tunisian neighbor had made us children a big plate of spaghetti to share. We all dove in headfirst, the chickpeas in the spaghetti sauce where fresh and crunchy. The meatballs, oh my meatballs were larger than life and juicy and spicy and had a succulent smoky aroma, the tomato sauce was made from sun ripened fresh tomatoes, and the spaghetti was perfectly cooked. To this day the memory of that spaghetti makes me salivate.

We are so very proud to announce the launch of our new company Mira’s Table. Come taste our amlous (traditional Moroccan spreads) and premium virgin culinary argan oil at Lunch, Australia’s first industry event dedicated to the food-to-go market! If you are in the food biz register here for free.

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Tell me about your favourite food memory? I’d love to hear, email your story to win our complete new Moroccan gourmet range.

The truth about Argan Oil

‘Oh Moroccan Argan Oil, I put it in my hair, I didn’t know you could put it on your skin……’?

Moroccan Argan oil has become incredibly popular over the last few years as a hair care product and has been hailed as ‘the secret of Moroccan women’.

This statement always makes me slightly squirm. Last time I checked with my mother and the women in my family, we weren’t keeping a bottle of argan oil as a secret from the rest of the world in a box with our incense and jewels.

Many Moroccans say when asked about the oil ‘Oh Argan Oil, I dip my freshly baked warm bread in it, make Amlou or use it for cooking and salads’. You see the difference between cosmetic argan oil and culinary argan oil is that one comes from the unroasted argan kernel and the culinary oil comes from the roasted argan kernel. Pure cosmetic Argan Oil is incredible for SKIN, HAIR and NAILS.

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Fresh baked Moroccan bread

So how do you know if you are buying the real stuff?

1. Packaging
Clear or even worse plastic packaging is a gianormous no no!! This should be a very big red light alert! Any self respecting producer of Argan Oil knows the worth of this oil and would never ever put their precious oil in clear or worse plastic packaging. Clear packaging makes the oil detoriate. The light breaks down the great properties of the oil. So make sure your argan oil comes in a dark glass bottle.

2.Read
Read your ingredient listing. ‘Pure Argan Serum’, ‘Moroccan Argan Oil’, ‘Moroccan Berber Oil’ are a few terms that are being used by hair care brands to make you think what you are buying is pure. It’s very simple. If argan oil is the fourth, fifth or sixth ingredient on the list, it means you are not getting the full benefits of the oil. You might as well go and crack open that very expensive bottle of champagne, dilute it with 20 liter of luke warm tap water and say you are drinking champagne. Catch my drift?

3. Smell
Pure Argan Oil does not contain any added perfumes or scents. Cosmetic argan Oil has this beautiful slight nutty scent that dissolves after a couple of seconds after application. If your oil smells really strong, it might mean that the oil has gone rancid.

4.Pricing
I got a bargain and paid ten bucks for this Oil. That is not going to happen I am afraid. Argan oil is a labour intensive oil, it takes a long time to produce one liter of this precious oil. On the bright side, you only need a small amount for your skin, nails and hair. A bottle will last you anywhere from 3 to 6 months.

5. Quality
Like olive oil, there are differences in quality in Argan Oil. Unfortunately the industry has gone absolutely rampant and there is more demand in Argan oil. Some producers don’t wait until the nuts have ripened and try to harvest the nuts before they are ready, which produces bad quality argan oil. (I will talk more about the industry in a future blog post).

6.Sediment
Check your argan oil, if it is even and clear it might be too refined. Good quality cosmetic Argan Oil has some sediment or cloud. The less the oil has been put through strainers or deodorised the better.

7. Feel, look and touch
Pure Argan Oil has a beautiful light texture, it is not slimey and is absorbed by your skin immediately and has a light golden colour.

8. Age
The freshest argan oil is the best oil. Look for oils that are recently pressed, not ones that are gathering dust on the shelves of shops. Mira’s Hand argan oil is flown out every three months and pressed in small batches especially for us.

Read my follow up blog post here.

At Mira’s Hand we offer the highest quality available of pure Organic Moroccan Argan Oil.

Moroccan meatballs and eggs in a tomato sauce

This dish is so very easy to cook, and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No cutlery required or plates. Eat with your hands and use your bread as a spoon. It will taste much better that way.

Feeds two people

Ingredients:
1 tomato
1 table spoon of tomato paste
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
200 gram of ground meat
half cup of bread crumbs
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
3 teaspoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of coriander
4 eggs
1 onion
Crusty bread

You don’t need to rush out to buy a tagine if you don’t have one. You can cook this dish in a pan with a lid (although it does tastes better cooked in a tagine).

Cut the onion finely and fry over a low heat in the tagine with the lid off for a couple of minutes until the onion softens. Cut the tomato in small pieces and add to the onions and place the lid on top.

In the meantime cut the garlic and coriander again very fine. Mix the breadcrumbs with the ground meat, the paprika, turmeric, olive oil and salt and pepper, garlic and coriander. Make little meatballs and place them carefully in the tagine. leave to cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat.

photo tagine eggs ingredients

Carefully break 4 eggs over the meatball, don’t stir and place lid on top of tagine.

Leave to cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve with warm crusty bread.

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Besaha!

What do you believe, hype or tradition?

I come from a country where women, rich and poor share the same beauty regime. Passed down from mother to daughter and in my case grandmother to daughter, recipes for beauty treatments consists mostly off natural and pure ingredients.

One essential ingredient is the versatile Argan Oil also known as Moroccan Oil or liquid gold because it only grows in the South Western region of Morocco, is very labour intensive to extract and the rarest of oils.

And so when I moved to beautiful Australia, I was surprised to see that none of these authentic, pure and natural ingredients were available. I quickly arranged for my family and friends to send them to me or stock up during my yearly travels to Morocco.

I am not surprised to see that there are an increasing number of products that attempt to harness the benefits of Argan Oil, given it’s wonderful and well established health benefits.

For those who seek out natural and authentic products to use on your skin, hair and nails, without nasty, unnecessary ingredients, it is worth paying attention and taking the time to read the ingredients on the label and understand what you are using before you put it on your skin, hair or nails.

Some commonly found ingredients in many products include Dimethicone & Cyclomethicone (silicone oils) and when Argan oil is added, it typically only makes up a very small amount (in volume) of the actual product.

On further investigation other ingredients you might find in some Argan based products include:

  • Cyclopentasiloxane – a binding agent for silicone oils
  • Dimethicone – derived from silica (a naturally occurring component of sand and quartz); emollient, water repellent, adds shine to skin and hair.
  • Cyclomethicone – a silicone oil used in hair and skin care products to impart shine and silkiness
  • Butylphenyl Methylpropional – a synthetic fragrance compound.

Argan Oil (Argania Spinosa) is often listed somewhere amongst this complex list of ingredients and in such small quantities one would have to the question that its benefits might be negligible.

If you want to experience the full benefits of Argan Oil in it’s pure form without exposing yourself to this cocktail of other chemicals or ingredients, then only use 100% Pure Argan Oil that Mira’s Hand offers.