Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds which has its origins in the Arabic speaking countries of the Mediterranean. Although delicious by itself on bread or toast it is often blended with other ingredients to make sauces, dressings, dips and spreads or used as an ingredient in pies and casseroles etc. as well as in sweet dishes such as cheesecakes, cakes and puddings.
Tahini is a fairly concentrated food source and in fact quite a powerhouse of nutrition. It is one of the best sources of vitamins E, F, and T as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, Biotin and Choline. It is also a fair source of vitamin A. Tahini also contains a veritable treasure trove of amino acids and essential minerals and is 20% complete protein, being richer in protein than milk, soya beans, sunflower seeds and most nuts.
It is one of the richest sources of Methionine (an essential amino acid) and also contains natural lecithin, which reduces blood fat levels and provides protection from environmental pollutants such as nicotine. Tahini also supplies significant amounts of the minerals magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorous and even larger amounts of the mineral calcium. In fact Tahini is reputed to be the best food source of calcium there is but unlike dairy products which are the traditional source of calcium in a Western diet it is not mucous forming.
Tahini can be made from either hulled or unhulled sesame seeds with the hulling process being either chemical or 'mechanical'. Cawari Health Foods which produces the tahini we supply uses the traditional 'mechanical' de-hulling method which involves water soaking and rolling to remove the husks instead of the caustic soda bath used by conventional processors. Caustic soda also bleaches the seed and changes the nature of its oil content so it is not surprising that laboratory tests have shown that the mechanical method produces a far superior tahini.
Cawari tahini is also processed using very slow moving specially cut stone mills which minimises the heating of the seeds and ensures maximum retention of nutrients in the finished product. Conventional tahini made using high speed roller mills is heated to such a temperature that vital nutrients are destroyed in the process. Tahini manufactured in this way also tends to separate out leaving the ground seeds on the bottom of the container, very hard and dry, and a thick layer of oil floating on top. On the other hand there is only very minimal separation in tahini made using the stone milling method.
Despite its high oil content tahini has excellent keeping qualities and will not go rancid even if left unrefigerated after opening. This is because sesame contains the natural preservatives sesamin and sesamol which stabalise it over long periods. The tahini made with unhulled seeds is more vitamin and mineral rich than that made with the hulled seeds but it is also darker and stronger in flavour and may not suit some recipes which call for lighter, more finely textured ingredients. Cawari tahini is certified organic by ACO and is the only certified tahini manufactured in Australia. We have it on special this month so it is a good opportunity to try it if you haven't done so before. You can also contact our office for recipes which we can supply for the cost of the photocopying and postage.
Well, it is no secret, nor are we ignorant any longer when it comes to the natural colours of food, and how they indicate what kind of nutrients they contain. We all know that orange and red coloured food, contain higher amounts of beta-carotene and iron! Green Vegetables contain higher amounts of magnesium and so forth. We could go on for hours, but let's get straight onto the black foods.
Black foods contain more anthocyanin (a powerful antioxidant), isoflavones and more minerals than their counterparts - according to Prof Kikuchi of Takuba Food Lab. The health benefits of black foods are mainly due to the special antioxidants and anticoagulation agents that are rarely found in other natural food colours. These agents are known to help prevent blood clots, fight off free radicals and do much, much more!
Sesame seeds in general contain powerful antioxidants called lignins, which are anticarcinogenic, and Phytosterols, which block cholesterol production and prevent the arteries from hardening.
Black sesame will give you the added bonus of anthocyanin antioxidants more isoflovones and higher levels of minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and especially iron. Also greater amounts of the vitamins A, E and B1.
In Ayurverdic medicine, black sesame has a much higher medicinal value than white or red sesame, Not only do they use it internally, but it's oil is used specifically for mental disorders, as it positively affects the nervous system and the serotonin levels of the brain! Chinese medicine has been using black sesame medicinally for thousands of years! They confirm in their practice of this medicine food, that black sesame can:
- Prevent constipation and improve bowel movement by moisturising the intestines.
- Enrich the blood, and enhance the complexion.
- Support the growth of healthy hairs.
- Retard ageing and improve the memory.
- Strengthen the liver and kidney functions.
- Help normalise blood pressure, and thus preventing heart problems.
- Excellent for anaemic conditions due to it's high iron content.
- It is an excellent muscle stimulant.
- Most intriguing of all, is that it is said to be effective in mitigating premature grey hair!
Not only will you be impressed with what black sesame offers nutritionally, but you will also be blown away by its taste! Black sesame is as creamy, light, and easy on thetaste buds as hulled white sesame, but only if it is of the highest quality, certified organic stone milled sesame, such as Carwari International's product.
Even though black sesame is Unhulled - since black sesame in its nature is never hulled - it still does not have the strong and slightly bitter taste of unhulled white sesame. Many, people have commented that it tastes exactly like hulled white sesame. Some say that it is just a little more concentrated but nowhere near the strong flavour of unhulled white sesame, Most consumers cannot return to eating white sesame/tahini after they have experienced the taste and behefits of the sensational black sesame.
For more information you can visit Carwari's website