Where do Sesame Seeds come from?!?!
Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known, domesticated well over 5000 years ago.
Sesame seeds come in many colours, the most traded variety of sesame is off-white coloured. Other common colours are buff, tan, gold, brown, reddish, gray and black.
Sesame seeds history as a medicine goes back 3600 years to Egyptian times where it was listed in the scrolls of the Ebers as a favoured medicine. Also, women in ancient Babylon were believed to use a mixture of honey and sesame seeds (havla) to prolong youth and beauty, and Roman soldiers ate the mixture for strength and energy.
Sesame is a broadleaf plant that grows about 5 to 6 feet tall, height dependent on the variety and growing conditions. Large white bell-shaped flowers, that look similar to foxglove flower, about an inch long, appear from leaf axils on the lower stem, then gradually appear up the stem over a period of weeks as the stem keeps elongating. Depending on the variety, either one or three seed capsules will develop at each leaf axil. Since the flowering occurs in an indeterminate fashion, seed capsules on the lower stem are ripening while the upper stem is still flowering. Seed capsules are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long, with 8 rows of seeds in each capsule. The lowest flowers on a stem may not develop into pods, but pods will generally begin 12 to 24 inches off the ground and continue to the top of the stem. Sesame takes about 125 to 135 days from planting to maturity, if you have 3 – 4 months of warm growing season you can grow your own sesame seeds! (soil temperatures of 70°F. or more are preferable) You can also start seeds a few weeks prior to last frost indoors if your growing season is shorter. It is considered drought tolerant, but needs good soil moisture to get established. Sesame has been researched extensively in Missouri and seems to be well adapted to Missouri growing conditions.
Pick the pods when they burst open and after they become brown and dry but before they turn brittle. Place them on trays and shake out the seeds. The seeds can then be hulled and winnowed. The seed must be hulled before eating because their outer skins contain oxalic acid, an irritant to the stomach lining. Once the seeds are hulled, they are easy to digest. Sprouting the seeds will also increase their nutritional value. Refrigerate the seeds to prevent spoilage. Sesame should be harvested before the first frost.
Nutritional Benefits of Sesame
Sesame oil is one of the most stable vegetable oils, with long shelf life, because of the high level of natural antioxidants. 100 g of seeds provide 573 calories. Although, much of its calorie comes from fats, sesame contains several notable health-benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness. The seeds are incredibly rich sources of many essential minerals. Calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and copper are especially concentrated in sesame seeds. Many of these minerals have a vital role in bone mineralization, red blood cell production, enzyme synthesis, hormone production, as well as regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities.
Just a hand full of sesame a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.
Sesame seed allergy is a kind of hypersensitivity reaction in some sensitive individuals. Generally, the reactions include hives, dermatitis and itching.
(Please consult a medical professional and/ or do your own research prior to use)
In the USA