Sesame is mainly grown for its seeds.
How are they useful for us and what substances do they contain?
You will learn all this in the following article!
Sesame, the plant with miraculous seeds
Sesame, called Sesamum indicum in Latin, has been cultivated for more than 3000 years. Its seeds are considered to be among the oldest seeds with the highest oil content.
It is a robust plant that can handle dry climates with high temperatures. It was mostly grown by farmers on the edge of the desert. For that reason, it was also called a “survivor” crop.
It is an annual plant growing to a height of 50 to 100 cm. It has long leaves and colorful flowers. These can be white, blue or purple.
As already mentioned, sesame is grown mainly for its seeds. Sesame seeds are small, approximately 3 to 4 mm. They are egg-shaped and slightly flattened. It boasts a high oil content.
More than 80% of sesame seeds are exported from India.
Why consume sesame?
Recently, sesame has been talked about as a superfood. It has a high content of many beneficial minerals, including copper, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and fiber. It is also a great source of nutrition for vegetarians and vegans.
In addition, it contains a specific type of fiber – lignan, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure and help protect the liver from oxidative damage.
How many seeds can you consume per day? 0.5-1 teaspoon per day.
The study showed that consumption of sesame caused a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, improvement in blood glucose and hemoglobin.
When you consume sesame oil, oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation are reduced.
Sesame seeds are part of the annual sesame plant. If the seeds are ripe, their black pods will burst open.
We divide the seeds into several types, but we will take a closer look at them below. The seeds are 3-4 mm long and 2 mm wide.
We can consider them as a rich source of natural oils, lignans, antioxidants, protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, B vitamins and vitamin E.
The taste of the seeds resembles a nutty flavor, and they are also slightly sweet. Black sesame seeds are more bitter.
Sesame seeds and health
Sesame seeds provide a number of benefits for your health. They lower blood sugar and blood pressure. They are antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Thanks to polyphenols, they can help hair health. For example, massaging sesame oil into the scalp promotes hair growth.
Sesame seeds have a higher fiber content, thanks to which they ensure proper digestive function.
Only its seeds are consumed from sesame. These are rich in fiber, potassium, copper and B vitamins. You can see other nutritional values, vitamins and minerals in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Sesame seeds 100 g|
|Vitamin B1||0.699 mg|
|Vitamin B3||5,800 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.400 mg|
|Vitamin E||1.68 mg|
Types of sesame
There are different types of sesame seeds. The most commonly used varieties of sesame seeds are:
White sesame seeds are considered to be seeds that are in their purest form. They contain about 50% oil.
They have a nutty taste and are used as spices in baking. They are mostly used to sprinkle on buns and cakes.
In powdered form, white sesame seeds are added to curry sauces, chutneys and rice.
Within the variety of white sesame seeds, both hulled and unhulled varieties can be found.
Black sesame seeds are rich in flavor and are mostly used as a seasoning for salads, for marinating meat and vegetables, and also for medicinal purposes.
Black sesame seeds are believed to have medicinal properties and contain high levels of antioxidants.
They are used to flavor baked goods and are also used to make a powder that is very fragrant and has a distinct taste. It is often added to rice dishes.
You can eat black sesame as is or use it to make milk or tahini paste.
You can see in the following table that it is an excellent source of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
|Nutritional values||Black sesame seeds 14 g|
|Saturated fats||1 g|
|Monounsaturated fats||3 g|
|Polyunsaturated fats||4 g|
The highest quality oil is produced from this type of sesame seeds.
Black sesame seeds are sometimes used as a nut substitute.
These sesame seeds are rich in aroma, so they are mainly used in dishes to enhance the taste.
For example, Mexicans use red seeds as an ingredient in sauces.
How does sesame grow? Sesame is a very adaptable and undemanding plant, therefore it does not require any special conditions for its cultivation.
Sandy or loamy soil is a good choice. No fertilization or regular watering is required for cultivation.
The sesame plant needs plenty of direct sun. For example, plant it near a stone or brick wall to increase heat production. Sesame also does not have a problem with drought.
Sesame seeds should not be sown directly outside. Plant them indoors for the first time four to six weeks before the date of the last frost. Water them once a week until they germinate.
The peak of the sesame flower is in July or early August. After harvesting the seeds, storage is important. It is important that the seeds are dry and not rancid, which is possible due to the high oil content.
Processing of sesame seeds
Sesame seeds can be eaten raw, dried or roasted. They are a common ingredient in various cuisines. You can be inspired by, for example, Japanese cuisine and try a Tataki recipe .
It is used in cooking for its rich, nutty flavor.
The seeds are added to bread, bagels or on top of hamburger buns. They are also one of the ingredients in cookies and bars. You can also add sesame seeds to unbaked desserts, read recipes for unbaked balls .
Oil is made from sesame seed extracts. You can season salads with sesame oil or add it to various dishes.
You can see its nutritional values in the following table:
|Nutritional values||Sesame oil 100 g|
|Vitamin E||1.40 mg|
|Vitamin K||13.6 mcg|
Sesame milk – is full of nutrients such as vitamins E and D, magnesium, iron. Supports healthy digestion and immunity.
Sesame powder – created by crushing sesame seeds. You can use it as a thickener in soups or puddings.
According to studies, sesame seeds are very beneficial for your body. If you suffer from poor digestion, diabetes or are dissatisfied with the quality of your hair, definitely include seeds in your diet. Especially for vegetarians and vegans, they are an excellent source of nutrients.