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Sesame / sesame seeds (Sesamum Indicum)

The plant produces small, rich, sweet, spice seeds with a slightly burnt flavour, which is enhanced by toasting or frying.

These are an excellent source of protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin A and E and niacin.

They're available hulled or unhulled, the latter being more popular as a bread ingredient. Most of the nutrients are held in the hulls, but unfortunately these also contain aflatoxins and oxalic acid which deplete calcium; and the hulled variety is more digestable and more alkaline.

Hulled seeds are used to make 'tahini' (sometimes known as sesame butter),which is popular in the Middle East and an ingredient in houmus. In Africa they are often known as 'benne/benne seeds'.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.See "Houmus/Hoúmous/humous/hummus"; "Tahina/Tahini"

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