Where does sesame come from? Since when is sesame known?
Sesame seeds belong to the sesame family (Pedaliaceae) and have their origins in East Africa or India. Sesame is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and has been used since the 3rd millennium BC. Even the Babylonians and Egyptians used it for seasoning bread.
How and where is sesame grown?
The sesame plant is a one-year-old herb with a stature height of up to 2 meters. It grows in a tropical to subtropical climate. Their cultivation is laborious, the field must first be carefully cleaned of any weeds, as the plant grows very slowly at first and must not be suffocated by weeds. Furthermore, the capsules will ripen unevenly and then scatter the seeds as soon as they are ripe. As a result, about 75% of the harvest is lost. Small farmers thus reap only 300-500 kg per hectare, whereby the cultivation with highly developed varieties can already produce up to 2 tons of yield per hectare.
The harvest of the sesame plant takes place before the fruit capsules have reached their full maturity. After drying, the sesame is usually mechanically threshed.
What is sesame grown for?
Sesame is the first plant that has been cultivated to produce edible oil. Sesame seeds consist of 50% oil. The sesame oil is odorless and is made from cold-pressed, roasted sesame seeds. Among other things, sesame oil is still used in cooking in Japanese cuisine today.
How are they used?
Sesame is not a spice, but a nut or an oilseed. However, it is used in Japanese cuisine for seasoning. Here sesame is roasted and mixed with other spices and used as a spice mixture for seasoning soups and pasta dishes. A well-known blend in Japan is gomashio, which is a mix of roasted sesame seeds and salt.
Another well known Japanese spice mix is Shichimi togarashi. This is a well-known seven spices blend from Japan which is used as a universal spice there. You can also find Shichimi Togarashi at Orlandosidee in the assortment for sale. You can find all detailed information about the delicious mixture here: https://www.gewuerze-orlandosidee.de/contents/de/p348_shichimi-togarashi-japanische-gewuerzmischung.html.
Arabic cuisine uses sesame mostly as a paste called Tahini. This is made from unroasted sesame seeds. Tahini is used to make many pastes, such as hummus. The shawarma also uses a yogurt with Tahini mixture.
Many desserts, such as the puff pastry, are sprinkled with sesame seeds. The well-known Halawa and Helva uses Tahini as a base. Sesame contains unsaturated fatty acids, folic acid and vitamin B.
Sesame grains unfold their unique nutty aroma during roasting which gives bread and crackers a special touch. Try also to refine an apple pie with the ground roasted sesame seeds. A treat.