Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds which has its origins in the Arabic countries of the Mediterranean. Although delicious by itself on bread or toast it is often blended with other ingredients to make sauces, dressings, dips and spreads or used as an ingredient in pies and casseroles etc. as well as in sweet dishes such as cheesecakes, cakes and puddings.
Tahini is a fairly concentrated nutritional food source. It is one of the best sources of vitamins E, F, and T as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, Biotin and Choline. It is also a fair source of vitamin A. Tahini also rich in amino acids and essential minerals and is 20% complete protein, being richer in protein than milk, soya beans, sunflower seeds and most nuts.
It is one of the richest sources of Methionine (an essential amino acid) and also contains natural lecithin, which reduces blood fat levels and provides protection from environmental pollutants such as nicotine. Tahini also supplies significant amounts of the minerals magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorous and even larger amounts of the mineral calcium. In fact Tahini is reputed to be the best food source of calcium there is but unlike dairy products which are the traditional source of calcium in a Western diet it is not mucous forming. Our tahini is processed using very slow moving stone mills which minimizes the heating of the seeds and ensures maximum retention of nutrients. Conventional tahini made using high speed roller mills is heated to such a temperature that vital nutrients are destroyed in the process. Tahini manufactured in this way also tends to separate out leaving the ground seeds on the bottom of the container, very hard and dry, and a thick layer of oil floating on top. On the other hand there is only very minimal separation in tahini made using the stone milling method.
Despite its high oil content tahini has excellent keeping qualities and will not go rancid even if left unrefigerated after opening. This is because sesame contains the natural preservatives sesamin and sesamol which stabalise it over long periods. The tahini made with unhulled seeds is more vitamin and mineral rich than that made with the hulled seeds but it is also darker and stronger in flavour.