How to Process Sesame Seeds

Written by kate muir
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How to Process Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are white or black. (Southern Stock/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Sesame seeds are a source of vitamin B6, protein, iron and calcium. The seeds are often added to breads, bagels and crackers and lend a nutty flavour. The seeds also can be made into tahini, a Middle Eastern paste. Prior to use, sesame seeds must be processed. The raw stalks and flowers of the plant are harvested from the fields and then brought most often to a commercial plant for processing. If an individual is patient, it is possible to hull or husk the seeds and then process into oil or paste. The commercial method of processing sesame seeds is far more efficient.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Unprocessed sesame seeds
  • Large tub
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Oven
  • Baking tray
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame seed oil

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  1. 1

    Soak the harvested sesame plants in water to soften the husks for the hulling process. This is called the wet-hulling process, which is most effective. While hulling can commence on dry husks after harvest, the wet-hulling process minimises seed breakage and allows for more seeds to be harvested. Commercial processing plants have large bins in which to soak the seeds. An individual can use a large tub to soak the seeds.

  2. 2

    Hull the sesame seeds. Place the soaked plants and husks in the commercial hulling machine. The husks will be stripped from the seeds. The husks can be removed by hand as well. This is a time consuming process. Individuals also can utilise the dry-husking process in which the sesame seeds are dried and pounded to crack the husks. Always wash the husked sesame seeds to remove dirt.

  3. 3

    Dry the sesame seeds in the sun. Place them on a large, flat platform or surface outside in full sun. Layer the seeds as thin as possible so that the rays of the sun have access to all of them.

  4. 4

    Dry the sesame seeds with commercial drying equipment. The seeds will be heated evenly and will appear white when dried. These seeds should be washed again after drying to ensure that the remaining husks are removed. You can skip the above steps by purchasing hulled sesame seeds from a store.

  5. 5

    Roast sesame seeds at 170 Fahrenheit. Watch the seeds so they don't burn.

  6. 6

    Create a sesame paste. Place roasted seeds in a blender. Sesame seed oil or olive oil can be added to the blended sesame seeds to create a smooth texture.

  7. 7

    Make sesame oil. Press the seeds with commercial equipment. The oil should be pumped into a cooling tank where it will be filtered for impurities. Filter into bottles for consumption.

Tips and warnings

  • Purchase hulled sesame seeds is the best option because doing the work by hand is time consuming. The quality of hulled sesame seeds will be labelled on the container.

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