Black sesame seeds come from the seeds of the annual herb, sesamum indicum, and grow in long, oblong pods. They are tiny, heart-shaped, jet-black on the outside and white inside and are used as a flavouring.
Their nutty flavour is similar to but slightly stronger than white or yellow sesame seeds. They are often used for their aesthetic appeal, as a contrast to white-coloured food such as bread rolls. Toasting black sesame seeds releases beneficial chemicals as well as enhancing the flavor. Black sesame seeds enjoy a long shelf life and resist rancidity.
Sesame seed is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known to humanity. Sesame has many species, and most are wild. Most wild species of sesame are native to sub-Saharan Africa, although some believe the plant originated in India. The famous saying “Open sesame!” came from the sesame seed pod which bursts open when ripe.
Black sesame seeds are used in Japanese and Chinese cookery to flavour salads, tofu, dressings, dipping sauces, cakes, biscuits, confectionery, desserts, ice creams and drinks. The Japanese dry-roast them lightly before use, then combine them with salt and use the mixture as a popular table condiment called goma-shio (‘sesame salt’), which is sprinkled over rice.
Get these and other fabulous fresh spices from the Cygnet Market or at the Garden Shed and Pantry.
Check out the newly renovated pantry and the special Spice offer.