Strong Antioxidant from Asia: Compounds, Beneficial Properties and Shelf Life of Sesame Seeds

Sesame known to everyone today came to us from ancient times. The name of these seeds was mentioned in many legends and stories. Now they are actively used in cooking and medicine around the world because they contain many useful substances.

In this guide, we have described in detail the components of sesame, its beneficial properties and shared the secrets of how to store and how continue the shelf life of sesame seeds.

About Sesame

In Latin, a plant whose seeds are widely used in medicine and cooking is called Sésamum Indicum. This is a one-year-old plant; the fruits resemble oblong boxes.

Due to a large amount of fat in the composition, sesame seeds are very high in calories. As a rule, the fat percentage per 100 grams is about 45%. As for calories, this figure is approximately 560 kcal.

Sesame seeds are used not only in cooking, decorating rolls and bakery products but for medicinal purposes. In medicine, sesame oil is especially valued, which is also used in cosmetology.

Black sesame seeds with green pods
Geometry Pattern

Homeland and History of Sesame

The history of the plant is rich and long. People living on the territory of modern Asia began to grow sesame several thousand years before our era. However, some studies indicate that the homeland of sesame is Africa.

For the first time, the name of this plant is mentioned in the ancient Egyptian medical papyrus Ebers, which contained a list of spices and herbs. In those days, sesame seeds were a universal product. For example, the inhabitants of Egypt ground seeds into flour, the Romans spread a mixture made from sesame seeds on bread, and the inhabitants of Babylon made wine and pies from these seeds. In China, they went even further: sesame was not only added to various dishes but also used to make mascara for the eyes by burning sesame oil.

Over time, the product spread to many parts of Europe. To date, 26 species of these seeds are known. One of the most popular is Indian. The largest exporters of sesame in the world are India, Egypt, Mexico, Iran and Greece.

Black and White

There are two main types of seeds: white and black sesame. Both are widely used in the preparation and decoration of various dishes in the cuisines of many countries around the world.

  • Black sesame seeds are unpeeled seeds in a husk or shell. That is, the seeds in the form they are in the so-called boxes.
  • White sesame seeds are peeled seeds, the kernel that is inside any seed.

As we have already said both types of sesame are used in cooking. While white seeds common everywhere, black seeds are more popular in Southeast Asian cuisine and in China. Thanks to the spread of Chinese and Japanese cuisine, black sesame seeds have become known worldwide.

Sesame Compounds

Sesame is a storehouse of vitamins, minerals and other useful substances. Each seed contains sodium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and other substances our body needs. The seeds are also rich in vitamins A, B and E, lecithin, phytosterols and sesamin, which have antioxidant properties.

If a person regularly uses sesame oil instead of vegetable or olive oil, then they are guaranteed to provide their body with all the essential micronutrients. It improves overall health.

CompoundsPer 100 g
Fats61.21 g
Proteins20.45 g
Carbohydrates11.73 g
Water3.75 g
VitaminsPer 100 g
Vitamin A0.3%
Beta carotene0.8%
Vitamin E11.5%
Vitamin B158.3%
Vitamin B26.9%
Vitamin B336.3%
Vitamin B45.1%
Vitamin B55.8%
Vitamin B630.8%
Vitamin B928.8%
MineralsPer 100 g

Beneficial Properties

Due to the rich composition, the list of useful properties of sesame seeds is simply endless.

  • In rheumatoid arthritis, sesame seeds help relieve swelling and joint pain. In addition, the oil is used for colds and coughs.
  • The phytoestrogens contained in sesame seeds help to balance female hormones.
  • Due to the enveloping properties, the seeds are used for problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
  • For nausea, the seeds are used as a detoxifier. In such cases, they are taken before meals.
  • If a person is sick with atherosclerosis, regular consumption of sesame seeds can lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • With skin diseases and rashes, sesame oil removes itching and diaper rash and promotes rapid healing of wounds.
  • The seeds also serve as an alternative to animal protein. This can be a great and healthy snack for people who are trying to lose weight.

How to Eat Sesame Properly

To obtain maximum usefulness, it is better not to heat sesame seeds, as they lose useful substances. It is also recommended not to exceed the daily allowance, as the seeds are very high in calories. The daily norm is approximately 1.5 tablespoons. It is not recommended to consume sesame oil on an empty stomach.

When Eating Seeds is Dangerous

Despite their undeniable usefulness, sesame seeds can also have a negative impact. These seeds can do more harm than good to people who suffer from varicose veins and have problems with blood vessels. This is because some substances in the product’s composition cause an increase in blood clotting.

As well, some people may be allergic to sesame oil. Therefore, before using them for food on an ongoing basis, it is recommended to do a test.

How to Choose Good Sesame Seeds

To choose a quality and good product, you should make sure that:

  1. Seeds are dry and crumbly. This is one of the most important conditions.
  2. Give preference to transparent packaging.
  3. If you can taste the seeds, make sure they are not bitter.
White sesame seeds on spoon

Shelf Life of Sesame Seeds: How to Store Seeds

It is better to store sesame seeds unpeeled. So, you can extend the shelf life of sesame seeds while retaining all the useful substances and properties. Unpeeled seeds can be stored in a dark, cool and dry place in an ordinary airtight container or package. As a result, the shelf life of peeled seeds is much less.

To prevent the seeds from spoiling and becoming bitter, it is better to store them in the refrigerator or freezer. Hermetically sealed seeds can be stored for no more than three months. In the refrigerator, this period can be six months.

Sesame Seeds Storage Highlights

In whatever form you store the seeds, the basic rules that will help extend their shelf life include:

  • dry and well-ventilated place;
  • lack of direct sunlight;
  • storage temperature close to zero or below.
Peeled sesame seedsBlack sesame seeds
up to 3 months, in a sealed container at a temperature not exceeding 5 ° Cup to 3 months in a refrigerator, in a pantry or on a balcony in an airtight container at a temperature of up to 5°C
up to 1 year, in the freezer at a temperature of -18°C and belowup to 1 year in the freezer below -18°C