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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. 

5 comments:

  1. Oh I'm excited about this! :O) I use lots of sesame seeds in my cooking and I've got almost a full jar in the cupboard. :D I'll sow some today. I hope they'll still be viable.... I'll buy some fresh ones just in case.

    The flower IS like a little white foxglove. It's very pretty.

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  2. Hi Lesley, each plant produces quite a few seed pods, each with a lot of seeds in, so you could become self-sufficient in sesame seeds....

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  3. That would be good Phil as I use them in cooking, sprinkling on breakfast cereal and youghurt..... I even put some in the dogs' dinners. :O)

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  4. i know the plant, but haven't seen it. It seems warry of insects, is it easily self-pollinated?

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  5. Hi Andrea, I self-pollinated the plants I grew and they set plenty of seed.

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