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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sesame, Sesamum indicum

Sesame Sesame indicum is reminiscent of a small white foxglove and is an easy plant to grow from the culinary sesame seeds that you can buy in the supermarket. Some say that it is the most ancient of all the oil crops and evidence from the Middle East suggests that it has been cultivated there for over 4000 years, prized for its nutty oil whose flavour becomes more intense when the seeds are roasted - which is why it's used to garnish loaves before baking. The oil can constitute up to 60 per cent of the weight of the seed. The crop probably spread from Africa to the Middle East and then throughout Asia. Today India is a major producer but you can raise your own crop in a greenhouse, conservatory or on a sunny windowsill by sowing a few seeds. They'll begin to ripen seed pods in about 10-12 weeks from sowing.