Sesame seeds, those tiny tasty toppings you may encounter on bagels, breadsticks and hamburger buns, are called the “queen of oil seeds” for good reason. Though they are not as much in the limelight as flax seed, chia and other so-called “super seeds,” they are a notable source of nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, copper. vitamin E, thiamin, calcium, magnesium and manganese, plus unique lignans (sesamin and sesamolin), phytosterols, fiber and other potentially beneficial compounds. By weight, about half the seed is fat, mostly unsaturated. An ounce (3 tablespoons) has about 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The seeds vary in color from tan to black depending on their type and preparation, grow in pods of a flowering plant native to India and Africa. The pods resemble okra and like okra are technically fruits. When they ripen, they split open at the slightest touch, releasing seeds …. hence, one possible explanation for the expression “open sesame.” Each pod contains 50 to 100 seeds. The seeds are typically hulled (soaked to remove the outer husk) and lightly roasted, which gives them a nutty flavor and a browner color. From Babylonia to the Far East, people have been consuming sesame seeds and using them medicinally for thousands of years. Bottom line: Sesame can add flavor and may have some health benefits. But don’t take supplements (several products contain high concentrations of sesame lignans, in particular) since these have not been well studied, and their effects, good or bad, are largely unknown.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. August 2016.
FDA UPDATES NUTRITION LABELS
After a two year review period, the US Food and Drug Administration formally adopted changes to the Nutrition Facts panels that appear on some 800.000 food products. The update labels will be required by July 26, 2018, except for small producers who will get an extra year to comply. Despite objections from some in the food industry, the update includes a separate line for “added sugars.” Among key changes:
Serving sizes will be revamped to more accurately reflect what people typically eat.
Calories appear in larger type.
Following current science that says not all fats should be avoided, with unsaturated fats now seen as healthy replacements for saturated fats, The “Calories from Fat” will be deleted.
Added Sugars will appear below the line for total sugars, along with a Daily Value (DV) percentage based on a maximum 50 grams for 2000-calorie diet. Although all sugars affect the body similarly, added sugars like those in sodas don’t come with beneficial nutrients as the natural sugars do.
Data for vitamin D and potassium nutrients the FDA noted “some people are not getting enough of” will be mandatory and include actual amounts as well as DV percentages.
Data on vitamin A and vitamin C, which most Americans get plenty of, will now be optional. Vitamin D and iron take their place in the “nutrients of concern” part of the label.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2016.
TEST MARKETING A NEW PRODUCT
Columbus and Cincinnati Ohio are among the top 25 US cities to test market new products and available now in Chief Supermarkets. My popcorn of choice is Skinny Pop. I like it well enough to buy it by the case. Since I cannot buy it by the case, I’m assuming it is being test marketed in Ohio because a 4.4-ounce bag of White Cheddar is available at Chief Supermarkets. White Cheddar Skinny Pop White Cheddar ingredients include popcorn, sunflower oil, non-dairy Cheddar flavor, salt, rice flour, natural flavor and lactic acid. It’s dairy free, non GMO, gluten-free, peanut free, tree nut free, preservative free, no artificial flavors, zero trans fat and delicious (having consumed a bag)!
FROM THE ARCHIVES
At a recent musical event at church a couple ladies read about it in their church bulletin and decided to attend. During the social time, one of them said “Everything Cookies” is still one of her favorites cookies. Thinking it was one Marilyn Sachs of Bryan had given to me, I called her. Although it wasn’t Marilyn’s, she did share the recipe, published on memo 516 in 1974. Recipe makes 6 to 7 dozen.
• 2 sticks butter
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 cup canola oil
• 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 cup quick oats
• 1 cup coconut
• 1 cup Rice Krispies
• 1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until lightly browned on top.