Sesame seeds have been an integral part of Korean culture, with the earliest record of their cultivation dating back to the “Nongsajikseol” in 1429. Traditional Korean farming and cooking manuals frequently mention sesame seeds, highlighting their importance in maintaining the health of our ancestors. Sesame oil, abundant in unsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin-rich perilla leaves were valued for their contributions to overall well-being.
In recent years, sesame seed flour has expanded its use beyond traditional dishes such as soups and seasoned vegetables. People now incorporate it into contemporary recipes like creamy pasta, dressings, and lattes. The appeal lies not only in its delightful flavor but also in the significantly increased nutritional content. However, due to its high content of unsaturated fatty acids, sesame oil is not suitable for high-temperature frying.
Sesame seeds offer numerous benefits for blood and cardiovascular health. They contain unsaturated fatty acids that counterbalance the saturated fats found in meat, aiding in blood circulation and vascular health. Sesame seeds help prevent and recover from brain damage caused by cerebral artery blockage, making them beneficial for stroke prevention and recovery. Additionally, they assist in regulating blood pressure in individuals with cardiovascular conditions. The high content of omega fatty acids, particularly linolenic acid, inhibits the synthesis of eicosanoids associated with hypertension and allergic diseases, according to the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
These tiny seeds also contribute to blood circulation and respiratory health while promoting skincare. Sesame seeds enhance blood purity, preventing blood vessel constriction caused by waste buildup. They stimulate sweat production, aiding in the prevention and relief of cold symptoms. Sesame seeds have been found to alleviate coughing, bronchitis, and respiratory diseases. Moreover, their richness in iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C makes them beneficial for combating anemia and improving skin tone by reducing blemishes and freckles.
When purchasing sesame seeds, it is recommended to select seeds with thin, smooth shells and a strong aroma. They should have a uniform size and feel moist due to their high oil content. Thick and rough shells should be avoided, as they indicate lower quality. Dark-colored seeds should also be avoided, as they may be excessively dried out. To preserve the freshness of sesame seeds, they should be stored in a sealed container and kept in the freezer. Sesame seed flour can be stored in the freezer or in a cool, low-humidity environment. Sesame oil, on the other hand, should be refrigerated immediately after purchase to prevent spoilage.
A delightful way to enjoy sesame seeds is by preparing a refreshing sesame seed salad. Combine cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and young salad greens with sesame seed dressing. This enhances the nutritional value of sesame seeds by incorporating various seasonal vegetables and fruits. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of vegetables and fruits, mixing them with the dressing for a delicious twist.
The culinary and nutritional allure of sesame seeds in Korean cuisine continues to captivate food enthusiasts, showcasing their versatility and health benefits.