ECOLOGY OF SESAME
Flowers of sesame plants bloom in order up the stem 40 to 50 days after sowing the seeds, stretching the stem upward. Its trumpet-shaped flowers in several colors such as white, pink and violet come out from the base of its leaves. “Capsules” closely packed with seeds are produced 30 to 40 days after the petals fall. When these capsules are dried, they split open and grains inside the capsules jump out. So sesame plants are reaped before all capsules ripen and pop, and seeds are harvested by beating the plants, which have been dried against a wall. These seeds are sesame.
Sesame seeds are small, flat oval seeds with a nutty taste. They come in a host of different colors, depending upon the variety, including white, yellow, black and red. Sesame seeds are highly valued for their high content of sesame oil which has twice oil of soybeans by seed weight and the oil is very resistant to rancidity. Sesame seeds are the main ingredients in both tahini and the Middle Eastern sweet treat, halvah. Although sesame has 50% fat or more, it doesn’t oxidize easily which means it can be preserved for very long time. It has also about 20% of protein. This higher nutritional value compared to other coarse cereals, fruit and vegetables might have promoted its spread to different regions.