Slightly more flavorful and nippy than their white counterpart, black sesame seeds add elegance and visual interest to any dish.
Black Sesame are the tiny seeds of a flowering, grassy plant.
Its seeds are just like the white sesame seeds in appearance, other than color, once they’re harvested, and dried, from the grassy plant, in terms of shape, uses, and flavor.
Black seeds have less oil but more flavor, a nuttier taste. As such, they’re used more to finish foods. In addition, their piercing color gives them a high visual aesthetic appeal.
These sesame seeds are from India. As of 2016, Tanzania, Myanmar, India, and Sudan were the largest producing nations. The plant, wild, originated in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the seeds were consumed, and traded, long before the plant was domesticated in India.
Sesame seeds are one of the oldest domesticated crops on record, going back 5500 years in India, but its Sub-Saharan roots are why it was so popular. It’s a hugely hearty plant that grows in dry and wet conditions, and is easy for subsistance farmers to produce. The Indian “domestication” of the wild seed increased volume and consistency. Most sesame was originally grown for its seed oil.
Assyrian religious lore says that the gods drank sesame wine when they created the Earth.
The word sesame, whether in Greek, Arabic, or Latin, means, roughly, “liquid fat” or “liquid oil.”
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