Tahini is the pulp from the sesame seeds. It is made by selected sesame seeds (sesamun indicum) through the process of peeling and drying. The pulp is an oily cream that comes from ground sesame seeds. The root of the world is in Turkish and means sesame pulp. It has the same texture as peanut butter, and it has about the same analogy of fats. It is considered to be useful for human health because it contains vitamins and minerals, but has a lot of calories and is therefore fattening.
Tahini is particularly prevalent and in confectionery, tahini pies, tahini cookies and a variety of cakes, while it is ideal in periods of fasting as it contains many calories. It is also combined with honey. It is considered to be a nutritional treasure as tahini contains a variety of nutritional ingredients, valuable for human health. In particular it is rich in protein, vitamins (E, B1, B2, Niacin, amino acids and carbohydrates).
It is very rare that only one food can manage to combine all these ingredients, that are necessary for the good operation of the body and is therefore considered to be a super-food.
The tahini that is used in Cyprus is a mixture of sesame pulp along with water, spices and sunflower oil. It is made up of about 30% of sesame pulp, 10% of sunflower oil and the rest of the percentage is water, spices and preservatives.
Sesame has anti-inflammatory action thanks to two components, the sesamoid and the sisamini. This anti-inflammatory action can also decrease pain in people with osteoarthritis. At the same time due to the high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids and sterols that it contains, it can reduce the bad cholesterol as well as blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk for cerebral but also myocardial infarction.
Its high content in necessary amino acids and calcium can help people following a vegetarian diet or fasting, cover their everyday needs in calcium and protein. Last but not least, research shows that the use of sesame can decrease stress due to its increased content of tryptophan.
In Cyprus, tahini is also known as tassi in the Cypriot dialect. It is used as a dip for bread and it is also used in pittas with souvlaki. In Greece tahini is used mainly on bread with honey or jam. There are also jars of tahini with honey or cocoa. It is also used for the creation of halva, tahini soup, pecan pie and ice-cream.