Sesame is the dried, oval-shaped seed of the herb Sesamum indicum.
Sesame Seed is harvested by hand. The seeds have a rich nut-like
flavor when toasted. Sesame Seed contains 25 percent protein.
Sesame Seeds are used to add texture and flavor to a variety of
breads, rolls, crackers, and salad dressings. Middle Eastern, Muslim,
and Asian seasoning blends use crushed, whole, and toasted Sesame
Seeds for flavor and texture.
Most of the Sesame Seed sold in the United States is grown in Mexico,
Central America and China.
Sesame seed may be the oldest condiment known to man and probably
was the first crop grown for its edible oil. The Babylonians made
sesame cakes, wine, and brandy and used the oil for cooking and
toiletries. Sesame was used by the Egyptians as a medicine as early
as 1500 B.C. "Open Sesame" was the magical password that
opened the entrance to the cave in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.
This reference is perhaps attributable to the fact that ripe sesame
seed pods open with a sharp pop at the slightest touch. Late in
the 17th and 18th centuries, slaves brought the seed to America.
In some parts of the South, it is still known, as "benne,"
which was its name in the African (Bantu) dialect.
Whole Sesame Seed
Sesame is generally described
as having a mild, nut-like flavor which intensifies when
toasted. It is characterized by nutty, oily, green and
bitter flavor notes.