WHAT ARE BLACK SESAME SEEDS?
One of the oldest and most famous ingredients known to man, these seeds come from the tropical fruit pods of the sesamum indicum plant. When the seeds are mature these triangular pods burst open which gave rise to the original expression “open sesame.” The seeds are then hulled (removing the outer, acidic shell) and then either pressed or ground into a paste. Black sesame seeds have a stronger, richer flavor versus their white or golden cousins. They’re popular as a bold ingredient in strongly flavored dishes. The black seeds are considered to be slightly more bitter in flavor. In Asian cuisine the black seeds are often paired with ginger or peppercorns.
WHY ARE BLACK SESAME SEEDS GOOD FOR YOU?
They’re rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Sesame seeds also contain lignan fiber which are rare in plants and help with cholesterol.
WHEN ARE BLACK SESAME SEEDS IN SEASON?
They are a Fall crop that is harvested when the stalk has become dry. This also makes sesame seeds a very drought tolerant crop. However being rich in oil, these seeds can quickly go rancid.
HOW SHOULD BLACK SESAME SEEDS BE STORED?
Un-refrigerated they should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. Refrigerated or frozen, they should also be stored airtight. Above freezing they can keep for up to 5 months and frozen for about a year.
WHY WAS SESAME STREET NAMED SESAME?
One of the T.V. show’s writers, Ms. Virginia Schone, initially met with negativity from other writers when she proposed this name. It was meant to be a reference to the Arabian Nights. “Open, Sesame!” was meant to convey to children an air of adventure and fun. At the last minute, the show’s producers finally agreed to call the show this if no one could come up with a better name. And no one did!