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home > food & wine dictionary > sesame seed

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 sesame seed    [SEHS-uh-mee]

History tells us that sesame seed is the first recorded seasoning, dating back to 3000 b.c. Assyria. It grows widely in Indiaand throughout the Orient. The seeds were brought to America by African slaves,who called it benné  (pronounced BEHN-nee) seed ,and it subsequently became very popular in Southern cooking. These tiny, flatseeds come in shades of brown, red and black, but those most commonly found are apale grayish-ivory. Sesame seed has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that makes itversatile enough for use in baked goods such as breads, pastries, cakes andcookies, in confections like the Middle Eastern HALVAH and in salads and other savory dishes.The seed is available packaged in supermarkets and can be found in bulk in MiddleEastern markets and health-food stores. Because of a high oil content, sesameseed turns rancid quickly. It can be stored airtight in a cool, dark place for upto 3 months, refrigerated up to 6 months or frozen up to a year. Seealso HERB AND SPICE CHART.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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