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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds:


Sesame (Sesamum indicum) is a flowering plant with numerous wild relatives occurring in Africa and a smaller number in India.  It is cultivated for its edible seeds which grow in pods.  Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate almost invisible crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredient in tahini (sesame seed paste) and the Middle Eastern sweet called halvah. 


Sesame  is one of the oldest oilseed crops known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago.  Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seeds.  It is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world.  The largest producer of sesame seeds in 2013 was Myanmar.  The world's largest exporter of sesame seeds was India and Japan was the largest importer.


 Sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper and a very good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, selenium, and dietary fiber. Sesame seeds are also full of high quality protein.

Health Benefits:

Sesame oil has been shown to prevent diabetes due to magnesium and other nutrients.  Sesame reduces blood pressure also from magnesium.  It lowers cholesterol due to phytosterols .   Sesame seeds are good for digestion due to high fiber content.  They help produce healthy skin from zinc which helps produce collagen.  Sesame helps boost heart health by preventing atheriolsclerotic lesions with an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound known as sesamol.   Sesame seeds have the highest content of phytosterol of any seed or nut which along with phytic acid and magnesium are anti-cancer compounds.  Sesame seeds contain the stress relieving minerals magnesium and calcium.  They also contain calming vitamins thiamine  and tryptophan that helps produce serotonin which reduces pain, assists moods helps you sleep deeply.  The high copper content prevents and relieves arthritis and strengthens bones, joints, and blood vessels.  It also helps protect you from alcohol impact on your liver and helps maintain healthy liver function. 


Sesame seeds are available throughout the year.

Selecting and Storing:

Sesame seeds are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as in bulk bins.  Make sure there is no evidence of moisture.  Smell to insure they are fresh.  Their high oil content makes them prone to rancidity.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. 

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how. 

Simple but Good:

Creamy Tahini Dressing 
10 TBS Tahini
5 TBS lemon juice 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp curry powder 
herbs of your choice 
7 - 10 TBS of water

Mix 1 TBS of lemon juice at a time with the tahini in a jar.  Add salt, curry, and herbs of your choice.  Mix adding enough water to make the mixture creamy.  Add to vegetables and salads. 

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