For those of you who know, I’m a mom to a one-year old. He’s amazing and I love him to death. There are a lot of things that come with being a new mom. The lack of sleep, the choice of going to the gym or taking a nap, choosing between tea and coffee (do you notice my theme of not sleeping?) – but one thing that I wasn’t expecting was how difficult… maybe that’s the wrong word… how feeding my little guy would not be simple.
As he continues to grow up, he keeps trying new foods, going back to his favorites (strawberries, bananas, oatmeal… like every other kid in America), but one item that has saved me from hitting my head with a frying pan because he’s not eating enough of his vegetables has been hummus.
He absolutely loves hummus. And I’m not talking store bought people (if you know me, you know that already). I have an never ending supply of garbanzo beans in my cabinet, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, veggies of all kinds, and the magic ingredient – tahini.
As his love for hummus and tahini grew, so did mine. I became interested in just what made different tahinis unique. What exactly is tahini? What makes one better than the other? Is one better than the other? Do I keep it in the fridge? Can I pour it on everything? What’s the best brand (in my humble opinion of course)?
Here are the answers in that order:
Ground sesame seeds.
Some yes, some no.
Ok, I’ll go into a bit more detail now.
Tahini is basically toasted, ground, hulled sesame seeds. Think peanut butter, with a slightly different taste. It’s a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines as well as my house. Used alone or in hummus, baba ghanoush, and even pasta dressings, it’s definitely worth having in your cabinet.
As for health benefits, yea, there’s a lot! Packed with all those healthy fats that your body craves like polyunsaturated essential fatty acids that support your heart and skin, these little powerhouse nuts are also jam-packed with other nutrients from calcium and manganese to protein, iron, and zinc.
Are there differences in tahini and how do I choose the best tahini possible?
Yes there are. (Don’t worry, I didn’t realize this until I did some research and talked to some industry experts.) Some tahini are made with toasted sesame seeds, some are hulled, some aren’t, there are a ton of variations even though the ingredient label just says “sesame seeds!” Going organic is always a great option and then really, it’s all about your own personal taste.
To keep in the fridge or not… that is the question!
You’ve heard that nuts have oil and oils spoil right? I keep many of my nuts (except for my family) stored inside the fridge to prolong their life. I was doing the same thing with my tahini, until I spoke with the owner of Pepperwood Organics who told me nope, as long as you’re using it, it actually stays BETTER at room temperature!
Using only White Humera seeds found in Humera, Ethiopa, the sesame has a high oil content, giving it a “smooth, creamy texture.” Think super pourable and spreadable instead of thicker. Pepperwood Organics also uses absolutely no salt in the hulling process of the seeds. Basically, they “figured out how to make an unhulled (whole) sesame butter that tastes amazing, while retaining all the goodness this super seed has to offer.”
Finally, in order to get a paste, you need to grind it! At Pepperwood, they go ancient, using only stone grinding techniques dating back thousands of years ago instead of metal (I mean do you really want a metallic taste in your food? I didn’t think so.)
It’s amazing what you learn when you go beyond the nutritional label and ingredients. Yes, they tell you a lot, but they don’t tell you the entire story.
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite easy and simple tahini recipes in a couple of days so stay tuned!
Oh and did I mention you can buy Pepperwood Organics from Amazon (or their website with free 2-day shipping)? Yea, it’s not only super affordable, but you don’t even have to leave your house to enjoy it!
As always, Bee Well,