Shea Butter is a fatty extract from the shea nuts which is found in the shea fruit produced by the shea tree.
It’s naturally rich in Vitamin A, E, D, F and Cinnamic acid. It’s known as the women’s gold in West Africa, because processing shea butter provides economic opportunities for women and girls, while helping to protect the environment.
Shea trees grow naturally in the dry Savannah region of West Africa, and the area of Northern Uganda, and Southern Sudan.
Shea Tree Shea tree produces its first fruit when it’s about 20 years, and reaches its full production at about 45 years old. The tree can produce fruit for up to 200 years before reaching maturity. Shea fruit has a very sweet taste, hence eatable. After eating the fruit, a shea nut in a shell is obtained.
Shea nut in Shell The first step in making shea butter is to crack the shell by hand in order to release the shea nut. The second step is to wash the nuts, and leave them to dry in order to remove the moisture. The third step is to pound the nuts, and crash them into small pieces.
Pounding of Shea
The forth step is to roast the small pieces, and transform it into a paste with a dark chocolate color.
The Paste The fifth step is to add water to the paste, and whip it, so it will mix very well.
Whipping Process The sixth step is purifying the paste by washing it over and over with distilled water.
Purified Paste The seventh step is to heat the purify paste over fire, so the fats rise to the top, and the oil settles at the bottom.
Boiling Paste The final step is to skim off the fat and let the oil settle at the bottom. The oil becomes hard and is then used as Shea butter.