Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Sesame plants are grown in tropical Africa, India and some parts of Europe. This pod has been around for ages but became popular in India and ancient Greece where, it was believed people use it for purification in religious ceremonies. Sesame seeds come in different forms. There are the red, white, brown and black variations. Sesame performs best on well drained and fertile soils.  Its planting season ranges between April to June while prime season for harvest is between September and April.

sesame seeds

More than 1 billion dollar worth of sesame seeds was traded in 2010, and the trading volume has increased considerably since then. Japan is the world’s largest importer of sesame seeds.  They are an integral part of Japanese cooking. Coming second to Japan in importation is China. Other major importers of sesame seeds are France, the United States, Netherlands, Turkey and Canada.  On the other hand, India is the world’s largest producer of sesame seeds.  Other producers include China, Burma, Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Somalia, Uganda and Niger.

The black variety of sesame seeds is mostly common in South East Asia and China. The white colored and other lighter varieties are mostly found in West Asia, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and the Americas. Africa produces different varieties of sesame seeds. As a very high value cash crop in demand, the export price per metric ton ranges from $900 to $1800. Usually, the seeds that are properly cleaned, properly treated with minimum oil content of 40% are in higher demand and are more expensive.



Sesame seeds   

Sesame seed has very high nutritional values. It contributes about 60% of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated ‘pure oils’ or fatty acids. It also contains 23% of plant proteins and up to 8 % of mineral salts, which has the highest concentration of iron and calcium. What more? They also contain sodium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.

This oil seed also contains vitamins (B1, B2, and B3) and E and is a very effective antioxidant for fighting cancer.  In addition, it contains carbohydrates, fiber, lecithin and two substances – sesamolin and sesamol – that protect the body from rancidity.


Sesame seed candy

The high percentage of calcium and iron and its rich fatty acids aids the regulation of blood cholesterol. Its high concentration of iron is very useful to people with anemia during lactation and pregnancy. The presence of calcium in sesame seeds helps to prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bone mass.  Their calcium contents make them valuable for people suffering from osteoporosis. There is equally a high presence of the antioxidant phytic acid. To better absorb the nutrients of sesame seeds, they should be pulverized or ground before consumption, just like tahini.

Sesame seed is an ingredient in various cuisines. Because of its rich nutty flavor, it is used in various cooking. Do you know that regular consumption of sesame seeds helps recover the original color of graying hair in people?  The seeds can be mixed in diets or incorporated into bread, or even fried in several preparations. They are equally used in baking.




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