Sesame10-Amazing-Health-Benefits-Of-This-Super-Seed

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Sesame seed oil is not only fragrant and distinctively Oriental in flavor, but good for you. It has many healthy properties. This “super seed” itself is 25% protein.  The oil is high in vitamin E, magnesium and calcium, and has the highest Ferric Reducing/Antioxidant Power (FRAP) value, which indicates its preservative value. Around the world there are many who take a spoonful every day for good health. It has been known to reduce high blood pressure, help with the treatment of diabetes, prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis, MS and cancers. It is believed to soothe sunburns, improve skin diseases. and also is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  It can be used to clear up gingivitis’, and prevent tooth decay by swishing or “oil pulling” with it daily, and has been known to clear infections in the mouth, throat or sinuses. I’ve tried it, and have been quite pleased with the results.  Sesame seeds are known as one of the world’s healthiest foods.

 

The folk in South Carolina, where we lived early in our marriage, make sweet crackers from sesame seeds which they call Benne Seed Wafers.
The folk in South Carolina, where we lived early in our marriage, make sweet crackers from sesame seeds which they call Benne Seed Wafers.

 

Sesame seeds are an ancient food. The seed was made into havla or havlah by mixing them with honey, and Roman soldiers of long ago kept this on hand to afford them quick energy and strength. In ancient Babylon, women believed that the same mixture would help keep them young and beautiful. Thomas Jefferson grew sesame seeds on his plantation, seeing its valuable potential. The early settlers in South Carolina,  made sweet crackers from sesame seeds , and continue to make them to this day. They are called Benne Seed Wafers. Today, most of us recognize sesame seeds as the little seed which is often placed on the outside of hamburger buns. One might enjoy them, made into a paste called sesame tahini or butter, which is often added to hummus, or can be eaten like peanut butter.

Sesame seed oil is the world’s oldest known oil – with sesame oil presses dating back more than 5,000 years. The oil is rarely used as a cooking oil, though it does have a high smoke point of 450°F. Extra-virgin olive oil’s smoking point is 405*F and peanut oil, which is often used to deep fry chicken, or turkeys is 440*F.  Because of sesame seed oil’s extreme flavor, a little goes along way. A small quantity (only a tablespoon or so)  is recommended to stir fry or saute’.  It is frequently used as a salad dressing or as an actual seasoning applied directly on the food, toward the end of cooking, similar to the use of olive oil in Italian cuisine.
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More than 5 million acres around the world are used to grow sesame seeds. It is a relatively easy crop to grow, being quite drought tolerant, with few natural pests. There are two types of sesame oil: Light is made by pressing raw seeds and dark is made from hulled sesame seeds that have been toasted before pressing. In my experience, the flavors are negligible and can be used interchangeably in cooking.

The oil from sesame seeds is often quite expensive, when comparing them ounce for ounce with other oils, but can be found in most supermarkets. A good quality brand, manufactured in Japan, can be found in the big box stores for less than four dollars, and since a little goes a long way, a single bottle lasts a long time.  It is not sold with the cooking oils, so look for it in the Asian or Oriental food section of the supermarket. If you use a lot of it, it might be well to purchase organic sesame oil, as more and more GMO products are being put on the market.


This oil is almost entirely used in savory dishes. The only place I have seen it used in sweet dishes is to replace the oil in a batter used to make banana fritters. Sesame seed oil is a vital part of many Asian dishes. It is delicious when used in marinades. One of my personal favorites is three parts light soy sauce, one part sesame seed oil, one part white or rice vinegar, a little garlic or garlic powder and ground or freshly shredded ginger. We use it frequently when preparing chicken and beef.

If you haven’t used sesame seed oil, give it a try. It will definitely liven up your Asian cuisine and could improve your health.  Here is a family favorite “Lo Mein” recipe, adapted from the  “Saving Dinner” cookbook by Leanne Ely host of SavingDinner.com, which uses this unique oil, to saute’ and as a flavor boost as well.

 

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This post was updated February 2015.

 

SESAME SEED OIL

25 thoughts on “SESAME SEED OIL

  • December 9, 2013 at 11:44 pm
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    This is very informative! You should head over to my site and link up this post to our Let’s Get Real link party. It’s exactly “on theme” for our readers!

    Reply
  • December 11, 2013 at 12:07 am
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    You forgot to mention its usage in opening things that are stuck or secured… “open sesame” 😉 great post!

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    • December 11, 2013 at 10:03 pm
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      I actually thought about that, along with a dissertation on Aladdin. Of course there is also Sesame Street, but I am so easily distracted, that who knows how slippery it would have gone from there? Thank you for your encouragement!

      Reply
  • October 23, 2015 at 11:50 pm
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    I just like the flavor it adds to dishes. I had no idea it was this interesting.

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    • October 24, 2015 at 12:08 am
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      I like it too. So glad it is also healthy!

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  • October 24, 2015 at 1:58 am
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    We LOVE sesame oil! It makes a great dressing for the packaged broccoli slaw you can buy at the grocery store…I forget offhand what all I put in it, but I made that broccoli slaw a TON last summer!

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    • October 24, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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      It adds such yummy flavors to everything savory!

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    • October 26, 2015 at 5:18 am
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      I do too, Betsy! I love what it does to my favorite Asian dishes!

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  • October 25, 2015 at 3:42 am
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    I use sesame oil often in stir fries and dressings often. I didn’t know the story behind it though. Now I do.l Thanks for sharing.

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    • October 26, 2015 at 5:19 am
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      Thanks Nicky. It adds such a wonderful flavor to stir fries and dressings.

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  • October 25, 2015 at 11:44 am
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    I ate a lot of sesame seeds when I was pregnant for all that vitamin E – I had no idea how many millions of acres are used to grow it! Interesting article!

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    • October 28, 2015 at 7:17 pm
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      You’ll recognize the flavor from many Asian dishes – and dressings. It is unique and lovely!

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  • October 26, 2015 at 5:59 pm
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    I use a lot of sesame seed oil in my cooking and I love its flavor in cooked food!

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    • October 28, 2015 at 7:18 pm
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      Me too! It is a lovely addition to so many dishes.

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  • June 27, 2016 at 10:46 pm
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    I LOVE how you point out that sesame oil is not GMO, so many oils are. Thanks for this great tutorial on how to use it. I really didn’t have any idea what to do with it before this.

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    • June 28, 2016 at 7:18 am
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      I really enjoy researching and hopefully teaching something new each time! I also love that they are non GMO and the ancient history involving sesame seeds!

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  • June 27, 2016 at 10:48 pm
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    Really interesting stuff. I don’t know that I’ve ever eaten sesame oil, but I love sesame seeds! I will have to add sesame seed oil to my shopping list and try it out.

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    • June 28, 2016 at 6:50 am
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      Glad you find it interesting. Sesame seed oil does have a very distinctive taste, and is WONDERFUL in oriental stir fries. Hope you have a chance to try it.

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  • June 28, 2016 at 1:20 am
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    Wow! That’s so cool! I had no idea sesame seeds/oil was so good for us! Honestly, I’m not a big fan of then, but it would be worth it to force a little into my diet!

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    • June 28, 2016 at 6:49 am
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      They are pretty awesome. The oil is used in a lot of oriental cooking.

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  • June 28, 2016 at 12:02 pm
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    I love the distinct flavor it brings to dishes… But I didn’t really know much about it! Thanks for the interesting information!

    Reply

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