Sesame seeds are tinier than other seeds and are available in white, black and, brown colors but despite their size, they are loaded with benefits to health as they carry nutrients, proteins and, antioxidants. Along with the health benefits, they can be eaten as a snack because of its crunchiness and sweet flavor, and they have made their way in many cuisines like Indian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, and even American.
What is a Sesame Seed?
Sesame seed is the seed that is produced by the sesame plant, which is scientifically referred to as Sesamum indicum. This plant is an annual herb that resembles foxgloves in terms of its flowers and produces pods that can be harvested for their sesame seeds. After the seeds have reached their full potential, the pods will explode open with a loud noise. It is necessary to remove the hulls since they are composed of oxalic acid, which imparts a flavor described as bitter.
It is also possible to extract sesame oil from the seeds by pressing them. Toasted sesame seeds, in addition to their use as a condiment, are also used to make sesame paste in Asia. Sesame paste is a popular alternative to peanut butter in many recipes. Tahini paste is made from toasted sesame seeds, but untoasted sesame seeds are typically used in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
What Does Sesame Taste Like?
Toasting brings out the sesame seed’s nutty, somewhat sweet flavor and scent, which is already present in the seed. Some say the black seeds are more bitter than the white ones.
There are many ways sesame seeds can be used in food. You can either eat them raw, sprinkle them on food, or make a paste and use it in your dishes. Their versatile taste is best to blend with both sweet and salty dishes. There are styles how you can use sesame seeds in a food
Toasted sesame seeds
Toasted sesame seeds taste even better either as a whole snack or with some other food by sprinkling them onto any dish you like because toasting boosts its crunch. But how to toast sesame seeds?
It is quite simple. Lay down the seeds on a flat skillet pan on medium heat and keep stirring them until they are golden brown.
Or Just place them evenly on the baking tray and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tahini is a smooth paste created by sesame seeds. It is used as a component in making hummus, as a dressing in salad, as a sauce, and overseeded in desserts.
To make tahini, only 3 ingredients are needed; Sesame seeds, oil, and salt. Blend them to make a smooth paste and your tahini is ready to be served.
Sesame seeds cure your hunger pangs and satisfy your appetite. Sesame brittles are easily available in the market or you can cook them at home with limited ingredients. All you need is sugar, water, sesame seeds, raw honey, and a little salt.
Start by adding sugar and water in a pan and boil them until sugar is turned into dark brown color while stirring the blend. Add honey and salt. Then add sesame seeds, mix it well, and lay the mixture onto a flat silicone tray. Wait until it is hard and sweet nutty candy is ready to eat.
Sprinkle on salads
Vegetarians or diet conscious people rely on salads. Sprinkling some toasted sesame seeds onto your salad will add crunch and nutty taste in it. You can also add tahini as a dressing on your salads. It will not only improve the taste but also provide healthy nourishment to the body.
Use in stir fry dishes
Adding sesame seeds in stir fry dishes like chicken, beef, or vegetable stir-fry boosts the taste by developing a fresh flavor in the food. When your food is stir-fried, just add a handful of seeds to it, mix it well and your tasty and rich in nutrient dinner is ready.
What Are the Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds?
Sesame seeds weigh 30 grams per tablespoon and give 3.5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. This amounts to 12% of the Recommended Daily Intake, which is also known as RDI. Regular use of sesame seeds may assist in increasing your fiber consumption, which could be beneficial given that the average fiber intake in the United States is just half of the RDI.
It’s widely known that fiber is good for your digestive system. In addition, there seems to be increasing evidence to suggest that raising your fiber intake may help lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, some malignancies, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
Reduces Triglycerides and Cholesterol
Consuming sesame seeds regularly may help reduce excessive cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The amount of saturated fat found in sesame seeds is 15%, whereas the amount of polyunsaturated fat is 41% and the amount of monounsaturated fat is 39%.
Consuming more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats as compared to saturated fat may assist in lowering cholesterol levels and lowering the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. Moreover, sesame seeds include two different types of plant components known as lignans and phytosterols, both of which are thought to be capable of decreasing cholesterol levels.
Healthy Plant Protein Source
One serving of sesame seeds, which is equal to 30 grams or three tablespoons, contains 5 grams of protein. If you want the most protein out of your sesame seeds, choose hulled, roasted sesame seeds. The processes of hulling and roasting reduce the levels of oxalates and phytates, which are chemicals that interfere with digestion and the body’s ability to absorb protein.
Protein is critical to the maintenance of your health because it is involved in the formation of muscles, hormones, and other tissues. Lysine is an important amino acid that is found in higher quantities in foods derived from animals, such as meat and dairy.
However, vegans and vegetarians can make up for the lack of lysine in their diet by eating a lot of legumes and plant proteins that are high in lysine, such as kidney beans and chickpeas. Moreover, sesame seeds have a high concentration of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, both of which are lacking in legumes in significant quantities.
Although most of the calcium is found in the hull, sesame seeds are an excellent source of several minerals that are beneficial to bone health. However, sesame seeds include natural chemicals called oxalates and phytates, which are considered antinutrients because they inhibit the body’s ability to absorb minerals. Experimenting with soaking, roasting, or sprouting the seeds can help mitigate the effects of the substances they contain.
Inflammation at a low level and for an extended period of time may be a factor in the development of a number of chronic illnesses, such as cancer, obesity, and heart and kidney disease. Those who suffered from kidney illness saw a reduction in their inflammatory indicators after consuming a diet consisting of 18 grams of flax seeds, 6 grams of sesame seeds, and 6 grams of pumpkin seeds on a daily basis for a period of three months.
How to Toast Sesame Seeds?
To enhance the nutty flavor of sesame seeds, toasting them is the best method. There are two ways to do this. One is using a dry skillet to toast the nuts and the second is baking them in an oven. The method that is done on the stovetop is faster; simply spread out an even layer of sesame seeds in a dry skillet and fry them over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and fragrant, which should take approximately three to five minutes.
You also have the option of spreading the seeds out on a cookie sheet and toasting them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight to fifteen minutes while tossing them frequently until they are golden brown and aromatic.
Where Can You Buy Sesame Seeds?
You can get packaged sesame seeds in the spice department of grocery stores. You can also buy sesame seeds in large quantities in health food stores and marketplaces. Because of the enormous amount of oil that the seeds contain, they will go bad very quickly. It is recommended to purchase a limited quantity of them and use them as soon as possible.
How to Store Your Sesame Seeds?
While not in use, sesame seeds should be kept in an airtight container. Seeds that have not been refrigerated can be stored for up to three months in a location that is cool and dry. If you keep the seeds in the refrigerator for up to six months, they will remain excellent; if you freeze them, they will remain good for up to one year. On the other hand, sesame oil is exceptionally stable; it can be stored for several years without becoming rotten, even in warm environments.