Hello, food lovers! Today, we’re going to take a journey to the Middle East to explore a unique and flavorful ingredient that will elevate your favorite dishes to a whole new level — homemade Tahini Extract!
If you’re a fan of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ve probably encountered tahini in various forms. But have you ever tried making your own tahini extract?
In this post, we’ll walk you through the process of creating this delicious condiment from scratch, and share some tips and tricks to make it the star of your next meal.
What is Tahini Extract?
Tahini extract (aka sesame seed juice) — not to be confused with tahini paste, is a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. Both are made from ground sesame seeds, which are rich in oil and protein.
Sesame seed juice is a liquid extracted from sesame seeds, while tahini paste is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds.
Both share a nutty flavor and a smooth, velvety texture, that makes them a versatile ingredient for a wide range of dishes (For the differences, uses, and pros and cons, continue reading).
From hummus and baba ghanoush to salad dressings and marinades, tahini extract adds a depth of flavor and a touch of elegance to your culinary creations.
Why Make Your Own Tahini Extract?
While you can easily find tahini paste in your local grocery store, making your own homemade tahini extract offers several advantages. First, it allows you to control the quality of the ingredients and ensure that your tahini is fresh and full of flavor. Second, it’s a fun and rewarding culinary experience that will make you feel like a master chef. And finally, it’s a great way to impress your friends and family with a unique and delicious ingredient that they’ve probably never tried before.
After following our recipe, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, flavorful, and velvety smooth tahini extract that will become a staple ingredient in your kitchen.
Use it as a dip, a spread, or an ingredient in your favorite dishes, and watch as your taste buds dance with delight.
Homemade Tahini Extract Recipe
- Coffee grinder or food processor
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing Bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer
- Glass jar with a tight-fitting lid
- 1 cup raw sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt optional
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Toast the sesame seeds: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Spread the raw sesame seeds on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until they’re fragrant and slightly browned. Stir the seeds occasionally to ensure even toasting.
- Cool and grind the sesame seeds: Remove the toasted sesame seeds from the oven and let them cool slightly. Then, use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the seeds into a fine powder. This may take a few minutes and several rounds of grinding.
- Mix the ground sesame seeds with salt and lemon juice: In a mixing bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds, salt (if using), and lemon juice. Mix well until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Add water and continue mixing: Slowly add the water to the sesame seed mixture, stirring constantly. Continue mixing until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure everything is well combined.
- Strain the tahini extract: Place a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer over a glass jar and pour the sesame seed mixture into the strainer. Allow the mixture to strain for several hours, or overnight, to remove any remaining solids and create a smooth, velvety tahini extract.
- Store the tahini extract: Once the straining process is complete, transfer the tahini extract to a clean, airtight glass jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Some of the best uses for this extract:
- Need a unique and flavorful dip for your next gathering? Tahini extract is the perfect choice!
- Want to add a touch of elegance to your favorite dishes? Use tahini extract as a marinade or salad dressing.
- Craving a delicious, nutritious snack? Try tahini extract as a spread on your favorite bread or crackers.
Sesame seed juice is a liquid extracted from sesame seeds, which can be used for various culinary purposes.
However, it is not the same as tahini paste, which is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. This is typically made by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste, with or without the hulls, and sometimes adding a small amount of oil to the mixture to achieve the desired consistency.
Extracting “juice” from sesame seeds, on the other hand, is not a common method for making tahini; Sesame seed juice may have less nutrients and benefits than tahini paste, and it generally also has a different texture and higher concentration of sesame flavor.
Sesame seed juice has some pros and cons for culinary uses, compared to tahini paste:
Some uses and benefits of sesame seed juice are:
- It can be used as a salad dressing, sauce, or marinade, as it has a lighter and smoother consistency than tahini paste.
- It can be used as a vegan milk alternative, as it has a mild and nutty flavor that can complement cereals, smoothies, or coffee.
- It can be used as a base for soups, stews, or curries, as it can add creaminess and richness to the dishes.
- Enhanced Flavor and Aroma: Extracting sesame seeds into a juice could preserve more of their volatile aromatic compounds, resulting in a more intense and nuanced flavor profile. This could be particularly beneficial in applications where subtlety and delicate flavor nuances are desired.
- Smoothness and Texture Control: Sesame juice would be a liquid form, allowing for more precise control of the texture in various culinary preparations. This could be useful in creating sauces, dressings, and dips with a smooth, silky consistency.
- Ease of Incorporating into Diverse Dishes: Sesame juice could be easily incorporated into various dishes without the need for heavy grinding or emulsification, making it more versatile for incorporating into soups, smoothies, and desserts.
Some drawbacks and limitations of sesame seed juice are:
- It has less protein, fiber, healthy fats, and minerals than tahini paste, which means it may not be as nutritious or filling.
- It has less antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties than tahini paste, which means it may not offer the same health benefits.
- It may not work well for baking, as it may not have the same binding and thickening abilities as tahini paste.
- Limited Shelf Life: Sesame juice, lacking the protective coating of sesame seeds, may have a shorter shelf life compared to tahini. It might be more prone to oxidation and spoilage, requiring careful storage and handling.
- Susceptibility to Separation: Sesame juice, due to its inherent instability, could separate into layers, affecting its visual appeal and consistency in some culinary applications. This could require additional emulsification.
Can I use hulled or unhulled sesame seeds for this recipe?
It’s best to use unhulled sesame seeds, as they have a higher oil content and will result in a smoother, more flavorful tahini extract.
Do I need to use a coffee grinder or food processor for this recipe?
Yes, you’ll need a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the sesame seeds into a fine powder.
Can I use a blender instead of a coffee grinder or food processor?
A blender may not be as effective at grinding the sesame seeds into a fine powder, but you can try using it if you don’t have a coffee grinder or food processor on hand.
How long does the tahini extract take to strain?
The straining process can take several hours or overnight, depending on how fine the sesame seed mixture is.
Can I make tahini extract without straining it?
Yes, you can make tahini extract without straining it, but it will have a coarser texture and may contain small solids.
Can I use different types of sesame seeds?
Yes, you can use black sesame seeds for a darker, nuttier flavor, or white sesame seeds for a lighter, more delicate flavor.
Can I make tahini extract ahead of time?
Yes, you can make tahini extract ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Can I freeze tahini extract ?
No, tahini does not freeze well, as it will separate and lose its creamy texture.
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