Sesame seeds - Verstegen Spices & Sauces

Sesame seeds

Sesame seed is a spice that grows on the sesame plant. The sesame plant has an extensive root system which allows it to find water. This allows the plant to withstand drought and grow well in subtropical areas around the world. The origin of the plant lies in the Central African savannah, but it is now also grown in South America, Central America and parts of Asia.  The best quality herbs and spices are grown in the areas of origin. That is why Verstegen sesame comes from Mexico.

Characteristics of sesame seeds

Sesame seed grows on plant with flowers that blue, purple or white. They look a bit like thimbles. The herbaceous plant grows to a size of 0.6 to 1.2 metres. The sesame seeds are small seeds, only 2-3 mm long, oval and flat in shape and they grow in small pods.

The harvest

When the pods are ripe and dry, they will burst open. The seeds are not harvested until the shells of the sesame have turned brown-black. The seeds may be light brown to black-brown, which varies from plant to plant. The taste hardly differs. Sesame has a mild, nutty smell and taste that is even more pronounced when the seeds are heated and/or roasted. The darker the sesame seed, the more nutty aromas it contains.

Sesame seeds in dishes

In these countries of origin sesame seeds are often eaten roasted, just like peanuts. The spice is often used to refine bread and pastries and to season dishes. Because roasted sesame seed has a strong taste, it is often used in dishes.

Roasted sesame seeds are an important ingredient for many oriental sweets, for example the famous Turkish halva. In Japan gomasio is very popular, a spice made of roasted sesame and sea salt. In Chinese and Japanese cuisine, sesame oil is an important oil for cooking. Sesame is recommended with aubergines, courgettes, fish, green vegetables, honey, lemon, noodles, rice legumes and salads.