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Sesame Seed  [SEHS-uh-mee]     History tells us that sesame seed is the first recorded seasoning, dating back to 3000 BC Assyria. It grows widely in India and throughout the Orient. The seeds were brought to America by African slaves, who called it benné  (pronounced BEHN-nee) seed , and it subsequently became very popular in Southern cooking. These tiny, flat seeds come in shades of brown, red and black, but those most commonly found are a pale grayish-ivory. Sesame seed has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor that makes it versatile enough for use in baked goods such as breads, pastries, cakes and cookies, in confections like the Middle Eastern halvah and in salads and other savory dishes. The seed is available packaged in supermarkets and can be found in bulk in Middle Eastern markets and health-food stores. Because of a high oil content, sesame seed turns rancid quickly. It can be stored airtight in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months, refrigerated up to 6 months or frozen up to a year.

    If you've got it, but don't know what to do with it, below are some traditional dishes that the spice complements nicely.

Salads chicken; fruit; mixed greens; potato; tomato
Fish & Poultry chicken; duck; most fish and shellfish
Meats beef; lamb; pork
Vegetables carrots; corn; eggplant; green beans;
squash (summer and winter); tomatoes
Pasta; Grains;
Dried Beans
beans; noodles
Cheese & Egg Dishes cheese spreads; egg salad
Sauces butter; cheese
Desserts cakes and cookies
Miscellaneous butter spreads; savory breads

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