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Sesame Seed

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A tiny flat seed that was harvested initially for its nutty flavored oil used in cooking and later for its seed as a seasoning in foods. Originating in Egypt and regions of the Middle East, the Sesame Seed grows on a bush encased in a small, elongated pod that is approximately 1 to 2 inches in length. Each pod contains numerous seeds which, depending on the species, may be white, yellow, brown (golden), or black in color. Despite the difference in color, each variety tastes alike providing a mildly sweet with a somewhat nutty flavor. To enhance the taste of this seasoning, Sesame Seeds are often roasted or stir-fried before being combined with other foods. When used whole, Sesame Seeds are commonly added as a garnish over breads, rolls, cookies, and cakes. The seeds may be used in sauces, stuffings, rice pilafs, candied foods, and a few deep-fried Asian foods. Sesame Seeds are also a widely used ingredient for various dips such as tahini. Often referred to as benné seeds, in Africa or as gingili and gingelly in India, Sesame Seeds are valued throughout the world for both their cooking oil qualities and whole seed properties.

Due to the high oil content, Sesame Seeds cannot last long in warmer temperatures without turning rancid. It is best to store the seeds in a cool dry area where they can be kept for 2 to 3 months. If refrigerated the seeds can be stored for up to 6 months or frozen to be kept up to a year.

USDA Nutrition Facts

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