Sesame seeds, according to Hindu mythology, represent immortality. One of the world’s healthiest foods, this tiny, flat, oval-shaped nut is considered the earliest oilseed crop is known to humankind.
Sesame is a seed crop cultivated for its oil. These seeds are found in Asia, Africa, and South America’s tropical and subtropical regions. It’s thought that sesame seeds contain the highest oil content of any comparable crop, such as peanuts or soybean. In addition to being high in protein, sesame seeds are also a good source of vitamins and antioxidants.
What are Sesame Seeds?
Sesame Seeds are also known as til. Small, flat oval sesame seeds have an almost indistinct crunch and a nutty flavour. They are available in a variety of colours, including white, brown, black, and red, depending on the type.
Asians use them a lot in cooking. Sesame seeds are also used to produce tahini, a Lebanese paste made from sesame seeds. Halvah, a Middle Eastern sweet, is another delectable treat you can create using til. They are accessible all year round. Because of their calcium content, sesame seeds are beneficial for those who suffer from calcium insufficiency. indistinct
Although the bulk of wild Sesamum species are native to Sub-Saharan Africa, Zohary and Hopf claim that sesame was domesticated in India initially. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods organisation, sesame seeds are believed to have originated in India about 1600 B.C.
Both the domesticated and the native S. mulayanum Nair of south India have morphological and genetic characteristics. There is also archaeological evidence that it was farmed in Harappa, Indus Valley, between 2250 and 1750 BC and charred sesame seeds have been found at Miri Qalat and Shah Tump in the Makran area of Pakistan more recently. However, they believe that the identification of sesame seeds as being found in the Egyptian tomb of Tutankhamun may not be accurate and needs additional verification.
According to Assyrian mythology, the gods created the universe by drinking sesame seed wine. Sesame is revered in India as a symbol of immortality and is frequently presented during funerals. Sesame is thought to aid the mortal soul’s transition to the heavenly realm. In religious literature and folklore, sesame seed is addressed. Sesame seeds are seen in carvings being tossed into large pots of food. While in battle, sesame seeds were given out to warriors who needed more energy to get through their challenging responsibilities.
Sesame seed is a versatile crop with a long and colourful history and a range of opportunities, whether it’s made into a glass of wine as a sacrifice to the gods or baked into current day bread and sweets.
Eating sesame seeds whole provides a pleasant crunch and a mildly sweet, nutty flavour. One can enhance their taste and scent by roasting or toasting to give them a more almond-like flavour and aroma.
With its pale-yellow colour and mild flavour that lends itself to stir-fries and Asian-inspired food, the sesame seed oil is phenomenal cooking oil.
A minor difference in flavour can be noticed while eating sesame seeds of different colours. For example, black sesame seeds have a more earthy flavour than the other colours.
Types of Sesame Seeds
Black Sesame Seeds:
Black sesame seeds are known to have therapeutic qualities and to be rich in antioxidant content. When the seeds are roasted and crushed, they create a powder with a strong aroma and flavour. This kind of sesame seed yields the highest-quality oils. For centuries in China, black sesame seeds were believed to have nutrients that could treat a wide range of illnesses, including those brought on by age, as well as stress and anxiety. These seeds are rich in zinc and calcium, which helps to avoid ageing-related health problems. Around the world, these seeds are used in yoghurts and other cuisines.
White Sesame Seeds:
Some bakers use white sesame seeds to give baked goods a crunchy texture. To this day, white sesame seeds are considered to be the purest kind of sesame seeds accessible. Powdered white sesame seeds, which are milder in flavour than black sesame seeds, are used in curry sauces, chutneys, and rice. Traditionally, toasted white sesame seeds are put on sushi rolls to give them a nutty flavour. They contain around 50% oil. In China and Japan, white sesame is known as chi mah and muki-goma, respectively, according to the online food magazine Chow.com.
Red Sesame Seeds:
Due to their aroma, red sesame seeds are often used in meals to improve their flavour. This seed has a lot of protein and has antioxidant effects as well. As a result, numerous illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and anaemia can be treated with these. As a result of this, seeds are accessible in a variety of packing options. In addition to improving the taste of meals, red sesame seeds are beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease and enhancing the health of blood vessels. There are other vitamins that assist in the cure of weak eyesight.
Brown Sesame Seeds:
As a result of its high oil content (about 45-50%), brown sesame seeds are used to extract oil, which is widely used in India. These oil-grade brown sesame seeds are mostly used in cooking because of their rich nutty flavour and dazzling texture. They are tiny, flat oval seeds with a mild nutty flavour and nearly imperceptible crunch. Smashed into butter to make tahini, or the sweet Middle Eastern treat known as halva (halvah), natural brown sesame seeds not only look rustic but are full of taste as well.
Unhulled Sesame Seeds:
Among all sesame seed types, this is one of the most common and healthiest kinds. Basically, hulled sesame seeds are sesame seeds that have been stripped of their outer husk or hull. A leading sesame seed exporter and maker of hulled sesame seeds in India, Vasant Masala is renowned for its superior hulling technique.
Hulled Sesame Seeds:
Unhulled sesame seeds are sesame seeds that haven’t had their hull or outer shell removed, as the name implies. Compared to hulled seeds, these seeds go through fewer steps in the production process and are believed to offer more health advantages. So, this variety is used for many purposes all throughout the world, including in a wide range of cuisines.
Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
- The addition of sesame seeds to your diet is an incredible way to improve your body’s fibre intake.
- They are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are good for your health. Consuming more of these fats has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels.
- Magnesium, vitamin E, and antioxidants found in sesame seeds help maintain healthy arteries.
- The seeds are particularly beneficial for you if you suffer from arthritis. It helps to relieve pain and stiffness in the joints by reducing inflammation and swelling in the joints.
- Sesame seeds are rich in iron, copper, and B6 vitamins, all of which assist in blood formation. It’s best to eat sesame seeds that have been soaked, as this allows your body to absorb the nutrients efficiently.
- A substance in sesame seeds called pinoresinol controls blood sugar levels by breaking down maltose, a kind of blood sugar.
- Sesame seeds also have a low carbohydrate content, which contributes to reducing blood sugar levels.
- Sesame seed is rich in antioxidants, which aid in the removal of toxins. A powerful anti-cancer antioxidant, sesame lignans are present in sesame seeds.
- Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, tyrosine, and other essential vitamins that help the thyroid hormones in the body function at their optimal levels.
- The presence of lignans in sesame seeds increases estrogen levels in the body. The oestrogen hormone in women regulates the menstrual cycle and other vital functions in the body.
- Before serving, sprinkle sesame seeds on stir-fries, salads, or cold noodles to add texture.
- When used in salad dressings or marinades, sesame seeds provide texture and taste.
- Add flax seeds and crushed sesame to yoghurt or smoothies for a fibre boost.
- You may add sesame seeds to the dough before baking to give your bread, muffins, or cookies a nutty flavour.
When storing sesame seeds, make sure to use an airtight container to prevent these seeds from drying out. It is possible to keep unrefrigerated seeds for up to three months in a cool, dry area without refrigeration. Once the seeds have been refrigerated or frozen, they will survive up to six months. It’s worth noting that even in hot regions, sesame oil will remain stable for years without going rancid.