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Sesame....not just for the birds!

This week we're featuring a little seed with a lot of life. Sesame is thought to be one of the oldest known foods, seeds have been grown throughout the world since prehistoric times. In early Hindu traditions, sesame seeds represented immortality. The Babylonians used sesame oil to make exotic perfumes and medicine.

Weighing in as one of the smaller seeds, sesame offers so much more than just a distinct nutty flavor to foods. It’s a powerhouse of organic minerals, especially calcium that supports bone and general health.

Whole sesame seeds contain about 88 mg of calcium per tablespoon of seeds. Just a quarter cup of natural sesame seeds provides more calcium than a whole cup of milk. Plus, they are alkaline whereas milk is acidic.

Sesame seeds are also rich in zinc, another mineral that has a positive effect on bone mineral density. They also contain copper, better known for its anti-inflammatory ability shown to reduce some of the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis.

Adding these little guys to your daily meals can help to strengthen liver and kidney, lubricate the intestines and act as a general tonic for constipation, dry cough, low backache, insufficient mother’s milk, stiff joints and can be beneficial in wasting conditions of the elderly.

Sesame seeds also add great texture to baked goods, a nutty flavor to sushi rolls, stir-fries and salads, and ground sesame seeds are used to make delicious and nutritious spreads like tahini, hummus and sesame butter.

One of my favorite ways to get sesame seeds into my family, is by keeping a small bowl of Gomasio on our dining table. The kids use the cute little spoon to freely sprinkle on their meals. Gomasio is a condiment made from toasted whole sesame seeds, sea salt, and seaweed. It has existed for years as a staple of a macrobiotic diet, where it’s used in place of table salt. I love gomasio for its beauty nutrition boost, and its unique - earthy, nutty, addictive - flavor.

This week I made some beautiful gomasio with local Sonoma Coast sea salt Jeff and I collected on a summer full moon.

I also recreated those tasty sesame candies I always want to get at the Asian market, but never do because they are full of white sugar. My sesame chews are honey sweetened with an added bit of gomasio to give the tasty treat a mineral boost.

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