Sesame seeds have served as a condiment and as an edible oil for more than 5,000 years. Yes, sesame seeds are recognized as one of the ancient seeds. Now, these little tiny seeds are enjoyed in different creative ways! A sprinkle of sesame seeds can make an excellent topping or garnish for burgers, steaks, tahini, salads, salad dressings, crackers. And, it gives fragrance and flavor to many Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean cuisines.
Sesame seeds are derived from the annual herb called sesame plant. The plant grows flowers that produce pods. Inside the pods is where you get the edible sesame seeds. The hulls of the seeds are removed to remove the bitterness as they contain oxalic acid. Sesame seeds are also pressed to produce sesame oil! The seeds are even toasted to make a peanut butter substitute called sesame paste – the roasted version is called tahini paste.
Nutritionally, sesame seeds are rich in fiber, fat, protein, and minerals like copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Fresh sesame seeds should be nutty, slightly aromatic, and sweet. Once you toast them, the flavor and fragrance intensify.
There are two varieties of sesame seeds to choose from: white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds. Which one is better? That depends on the outcome you expect from a dish, either appearance or flavor-wise. White sesame seeds are mild-flavored, and it can be used as a default ingredient to any dish that calls for sesame seeds. On the other hand, the black sesame seeds have a richer flavor, a little bit bitter in taste with a stronger aroma. This is best to use alongside other bold ingredients.
So, if you haven’t tried using sesame seeds, explore some recipes over the internet that use them, and just grab a pack of it the next time you do some grocery shopping!
If you have any concerns about storage, shelf life, and spoilage of sesame seeds, this post will inform you of the answers. Let’s explore sesame seeds!
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How to store sesame seeds?
The storage method applied the same whether you have the black or white variety of sesame seeds.
You must store the sesame seeds in a cool and dry place and away from sunlight exposure for an unopened pack of sesame seeds. Your kitchen cabinet or your pantry would be the perfect place to keep them.
Once you open a package of sesame seeds, make sure to keep it tightly sealed before storing so that you protect the contents from any pest infestation and moisture. Thus, you will need to transfer the sesame seeds into a freezer bag or in an airtight container. Or, you can use a bag clip. It may not be an ideal container, but it is good enough if you store the rest of the sesame seeds at room temperature.
To prolong the shelf life of your sesame seeds, you can consider putting them in the refrigerator. This is okay, especially if you live in an area where it is hot and humid. Ensure the container tightly so that the seeds won’t absorb the smell or moisture inside the refrigerator.
How about freezing sesame seeds? That is also fine. Freezing them is still a good idea, especially if you want to keep the sesame seeds for a long time or if you already ran out of storage space in the refrigerator. You can even use the seeds right away without the need for thawing it.
Here is another method to further extend the shelf life of sesame seeds for several years. All you need to do is to toast them! Toasting sesame seeds is an excellent idea because it will bring out more of its nutty flavor as it extends the shelf life.
There are two methods to toast sesame seeds: (1) dry toasting on the stovetop and (2) baking in the oven.
Dry toasting on the stovetop
The stovetop method is the quickest way to toast sesame seeds.
After toasting, store it as instructed above.
Can sesame seeds go bad?
Rancidity is the prime factor of sesame seeds spoilage. This happens when food with high oil and fat content oxidizes due to heat and moisture exposure. You need to understand that rancidity is a naturally-occurring process among foods with high-fat content and is bound to occur eventually. Rancidity can also destroy the flavor of your sesame seeds.
How long do sesame seeds last?
A bag of raw sesame seeds usually comes with a “best-by date.” Typically, sesame seeds can last up to one year. But, it is best to consume them within three to six months. Assuming that you have kept the seeds properly, it can last several months more past that date, even if stored in the pantry.
Once you open the bag or container, sesame seeds’ shelf life doesn’t change as long as you store the seeds properly. It will last up to a year inside the fridge, but it is best to consume it within three to six months. On the other hand, roasted sesame seeds can last in the pantry or refrigerator for 1 to 3 years.
How to tell if sesame seeds have gone bad?
If you follow the storage instructions mentioned above, you can maximize your sesame seeds before it spoils. That is why you have to refrigerate or toast the sesame seeds to reduce moisture and prolong its shelf life. Just note to yourself that the longer you store your sesame seeds in the fridge, the more chances it may lose its taste.
There are several indications that you’ll have to see to conclude if your sesame seeds have already gone bad. Some may not be evident at first glance. Hence, you just have to do a little more careful inspection. Here are the signs if your sesame seeds have already gone spoiled or rancid:
Mold growth happens if you have left your sesame seeds unused for a long time. That may mean that moisture has found its way inside the container and created a moist environment where molds can thrive happily. In this case, you cannot do anything to salvage these sesame seeds. You have to dispose of the sesame seeds right away. Better be safe than eating it with the molds.