Sesame seeds are the dried, cream-white to yellowish colored seeds of the today cultivated sesame plant. The flat egg-shaped seeds grow in oblong hulls, become harvested before the hull opens and is consisted of oil in a ratio of 50 to 60%. For the production of Pasteli roasted sesame seeds are used.
The sesame plant (Sesamum indicum) belongs to the family of Peda liaceae (sesamoid plants). The one-year plant with its oval, hairy and finned leafs heightens up to more than one meter. The white or pink to purple blooms, resembling those of digitalis, appear about six weeks from sowing. After the period of efflorescence seed vessels are growing ripe until they open and set free the small, cream-white or reddish brown oily seeds. These seeds may be used as they are or roasted as for the production of Pasteli.
Sesame seeds are not only very tasty, but contain many vitamins (in particular vitamin B1, B2 and B6) and mineral nutrients important for a healthy nutrition. E. g. 100 gr. of sesame seeds contain ten milligrams of iron, and a table spoon of sesame seeds contains more calcium than half a glass of milk. Also the vital trace element selenium is contained in sesame seeds, and the secondary plant compounds of sesame seeds, as e.g. Phytosterins, Phytic acid and Sesamin, probably have a cancer-preventing effect. All these facts confirm the old Greek tradition of sesame products, directly behind wine production.
The scientific research confirms the Greek traditions that sesame seeds, Pasteli and generally the sweets based on sesame seeds in conjunction with honey are contributing to health and a long life.