Sesame Spice Profile
Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 7/24/18
What is Sesame?
Sesame is a tall annual herb which flourishes in warm climates. It grows to a height of 2 - 4 feet, producing beautiful pink to white flowers and pod type fruits. Within these pods, the familiar oval-shaped sesame seeds are found. The seeds are covered by a fibrous hull that has a range of color from yellowish white to red, brown and even black. When ripe, the seed pods are very fragile in nature tending to burst open easily and scatter small seeds. For this reason, sesame must be harvested by hand even today. Mechanical harvesting would decrease yields significantly due to shattering pods. One explanation for the literary classic Ali Baba’s phrase “Open sesame!” is symbolic of the sudden “opening” or bursting of the sesame seed pod at the slightest touch.
It is interesting to note that sesame is cultivated more for its oil than for its use as a seed spice. Approximately 50% of the seed’s volume is a virtually colorless and tasteless fixed oil. It is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fats and is used extensively in the production of margarine, salad dressings and even as a cooking oil.
What is it used for today?
Sesame is typically used in its whole form, alone, as a topping for bread or rolls. However, it has also found its way into a small number of blended seasonings for the bakery and other segments.
- Fuchs Admin