Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds (Sesamun indicum) may be the oldest condiment known to man. These seeds were thought to have first originated in India and were mentioned in early Hindu legends. In these legends tales are told in which Sesame seeds represent a symbol of immortality. From India, Sesame seeds were introduced throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Sesame seeds are highly valued for their oil. The addition of Sesame seeds in baking can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times from a tomb painting that depicts a baker adding the seeds to bread dough. Sesame seeds add a nutty taste and a delicate, almost invisible crunch to many Asian dishes. They are also the main ingredients in Tahini (Sesame seed paste) and the wonderful Middle Eastern sweet called Halvah. They are available throughout the year. Sesame seeds are small and flat; one thousand weigh about one ounce. The main two colours of seeds are white and black. There are other variations such as yellow, brown and red coloured seeds.

Sesame seeds are of great nutritional value and should always be included as part of a healthy diet, and they taste good too. The world harvested about 3.84 million metric tons of Sesame seed in 2010. Burma (Myanmar) is the number one producer whose production was about 862K metric tons in 2011 (FAOSTAT). Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, and the Middle East are the biggest consumers of Burmese (Myanmar) origin seeds. Sesame seeds from Burma (Myanmar) are widely used in the food industry, this includes oil production, snack foods, baked products and processed foods.