The seeds of the sesame plant have been used for culinary purposes since ancient times. Sesame is a flowering plant. It belongs to the Sesamum genus of plants which is also famous as the benne. It is an annual herb from the botanical family of Pedaliaceae. Since ancient times and its production expanded, this plant has grown for its seeds as more and more people started using it.
Sesame is cultivated in different regions that include all southern, tropical, and subtropical regions. The top producers of these seeds are India, Sudan, and Myanmar. Along with seeds, most people also cultivate this plant for its oil. Its oil has high resistance against oxidative rancidity. While its seeds are known for their high amount of protein, vitamin B6, and thiamin. Sesame has two different varieties, i.e., black and white. Both of these types have slightly different aromas and tastes. And it is easy to identify both types.
What does Sesame Look Like?
The plant of sesame normally grows around 50 cm to 100 cm tall. The leaves are located opposite to each other with dark green color. The size of each leaf falls between 4 cm to 14 cm. The leaves grow along the margin. While it is also filled with tabular flowers. The size of flowers ranges between 3 cm to 5 cm. Each flower has a four-lobed mouth. Their colors may vary, while the most prominent colors are purple, white, and blue. When it comes to sesame seeds, the seeds are available in either black or white colors, while the shape of both seeds is the same.
Where does Sesame Come From?
Sesame seeds came from east Africa and Asia. However, in ancient times, these seeds were largely used by Egyptians. They used both whole and ground forms of this seed. While Chinese also has a wide history of using sesame seeds which dates back to around 5000 years. Moreover, ancient Romans also used sesame seeds. They used these seeds for making bread spread.
How is Sesame Made?
Sesame’s production begins with the plantation of sesame plant. So, your first step should be planting the seeds. Then, once the plant grows and gets ready for harvesting, you can begin taking out the seeds. But how do you know when is the right time? The flower pods on the sesame plant contain the seeds. So, once the plant gets ready for harvesting, the pods burst open. Then, you should remove the hulls because it has a bitter flavor. Besides, if you want sesame seeds, then you can press the seeds to get the oil. While for getting ground form, you have to dry the seeds and then grind them using a spice grinder.
What Does Sesame Taste Like?
The taste of sesame differs slightly based on its type. The white sesame seeds are more delicate in flavor. It gives a combined flavor of nuttiness and sweetness. You can also toast the seeds to get a better aroma and flavor. While the black sesame seeds are a little bitter. It has a richer taste with a stronger aroma.
How is Sesame Used in Cooking?
For cooking, it is better to toast the seeds before using them in the recipe. You can follow three different toasting methods. In the first two methods, you can toast the seeds dry by either baking them in the oven or stovetop. While in the third method, you can simply spread the sesame seeds on whatever dish you are cooking.
What Types of Cuisines Use Sesame?
Sesame seeds are used in different cuisines. The few most-liked cuisines are sesame soups, stir-fries, and salads. In these cuisines, you can just sprinkle the seeds. While most people also use them in cookies, cakes, bread, and other baked items. Pastes and sauces made of sesame seeds are also very common in most regions.
What is a Sesame Substitute?
For substituting sesame seeds, you can use roasted almonds, pine nuts, flax seeds, tahini paste, sunflower seeds, sesame oil, and roasted pistachio. All of these make good substitutes for sesame seeds.
Where to Buy Sesame?
Sesame is a common seed. It is easily available in almost all stores, and you can buy it from any nearest grocery store. However, if you are searching for high-quality products, your selection may get a little tricky because these seeds have many brands, and knowing the top ones might be a little difficult. But don’t worry because we have done the work for you. We have listed some top products below.