Product Review: Meridian Natural Light Tahini – Calcium-Rich and from the Sesame Plant!

How About Some Tahini With Your Mud?

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Creative Commons Licence Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

What Can You Use Tahini For?


Sometimes, I find, you have a wander through the environs of a wholefood or healthfood shop, and some of the products on the shelves just make you wonder. They make you wonder, 'What the heck is that, anyway, and why would I ever want to put it in my mouth?' I have thought this about many a product in my time, some of which have since found their way on a regular basis into my shopping basket and into my food cupboards – amazake, seaweed, buckwheat, and many more interesting source foods. (Seriously, amazake, check it out. Yummy, like a malty rice pudding, but good for you. Well, I don't know about the 'good for you' bit, to tell you the truth, but yummy anyway. And macrobiotic. How can it not be good for you? Fiendishly expensive, though, that's the thing. But if it's good for you, then how much does that matter? That's my excuse anyway.)

Another product that gave me serious pause, though, in my initial forays into trying it out, was tahini. Whether raw tahini or toasted sesame seed tahini, pale hulled or dark unhulled, in fact the only reason I gave it a chance the first and second and third times around, to tell the truth, was its health-food reputation as a mineral-rich wonder and 'nutritional powerhouse'. (Seriously, so many nutritional powerhouses, so little time...) The Nutritiondata.com website gives it an impressive content of 49.4 mg per 14g for Magnesium (12% of Daily Value), 19.74 mg per 14g for Calcium (2% of daily value) and 3g for monounsaturated fat per 14g (compared to 158g per 216g for olive oil).1 It has been described as one of the 'best ... sources of calcium'.2 And that was good enough for me! I went right out after finding that out to buy myself some and to incorporate it into my recipes.

Except. Except, the thing that you need to know about tahini, or ground sesame seeds, before you try to use it, is that it actually tastes... pretty much like mud. I'm serious. It's not that I've ever actually so much as sampled mud, you understand. But if I had, I'm pretty damn sure that it'd taste exactly like tahini. Or near enough.

What do you do about that? You find a tahini paste recipe that will make tahini taste good. Two words: houmous and halva. Check it out. You'll be eating tahini till it comes out of your ears (not literally, seriously) and none of it will taste like mud!


1. Conde Nast Websites. Seeds, sesame butter, tahini, from unroasted kernels (non-chemically removed seed coat) 2012. Available at http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3146/2. Accessed 13/08/2012.

2. MA Reid, KA Marsh, CL Zeuschner, AV Saunders and SK Baines. Meeting the nutrient reference values on a vegetarian diet. MJA Open 2012; 1 Suppl 2: 33-40.

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