Sesame Seeds and their Amazing Benefits
Author: Shelley Bennetts Date Posted:9 September 2019
Open Sesame! An Explosion of Nutritious and Flavoursome Seeds
These little seeds are often overlooked as a last-minute garnish for baked goods. But, apart from their gorgeous nutty flavour, the little seed pods are full of nutritional punch and health benefits. They are also high in oil and calories, so they are generally used in moderation.
It’s the oil in sesame seeds where most of the health benefits are, and they are quite an explosion of nutrition! The fruit of the sesame plant is a long pod, a bit like okra, containing neat rows of little white seeds. The seed pod of the sesame plant bursts open when it reaches maturity, literally exploding with hundreds of oily seeds.
These little morsels are an excellent source of copper, a very good source of manganese, and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, vitamin B1, selenium and dietary fiber.
Like all whole unadulterated foods, if you eat small, but regular amounts daily, sesame seeds will contribute to your overall good health.
How to use sesame seeds in your daily diet
In many Middle Eastern cuisines, sesame is an essential ingredient. They are made into a paste called tahini and the incredibly sweet and delicious confection, halvah.
Sesame is also a common component of the spice mixture za'atar, popular throughout the Middle East.
Sesame seeds add a special flavour to foods. Scatter them in moderation for a nutritious addition to your cooking….
- Sprinkled on salads
- Sprinkled on your baked goods including bread, crackers, pretzels, cakes, etc
- In healthy nut and seed bars
- In Japanese Gomasio
- Coated on fish or chicken
- In Middle Eastern Dukkha
- Sprinkled on Chinese food
- For Chinese prawn toasts
- Coated on Bliss Balls
- Coated on sushi
What’s the Difference Between Hulled and Unhulled, Raw and Toasted Sesame Seeds?
Hulled or un-hulled, toasted or raw, sesame seeds are an excellent source of unsaturated fat, dietary fibre and several important vitamins and minerals.
Freshly harvested from the pods of sesame plants, the seeds are embedded in a seed coat, or hull. Raw, unhulled seeds taste slightly bitter and are quite hard. In this most natural state, the seeds have the longest life. They should still be stored in an airtight container in a dry, dark place.
However, organic sesame seeds imported into Australia must be either hulled or toasted, ensuring that they are pest and disease free.
Hulled seeds are very white in colour, have virtually no smell and a very mild, nutty flavour. These will release their beautiful flavour when sprinkled on baked goodies. If you want to add that distinct sesame flavour to salads, health bars or your delicious dukkha mix, then toast them before using. Toasting them releases the volatile compounds that have that fabulous sesame taste and gorgeous smell. Since toasting them exposes the inner oil to air, they can go rancid with time, so you generally only want to do this right before use. Hulled, untoasted seeds should be stored in a dark, cool place… the fridge or freezer is perfect and will prolong their life.
Two Important Things to Know About Sesame Seeds
- Some people are seriously allergic to Sesame Seeds. Don’t hide sesame seeds in your cooking but let them be seen so those with an intolerance are aware.
- When you’re buying any sesame seeds from bulk bins, have a sniff to make sure they are fresh before you buy.