Dark sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds. It is available in both refined and unrefined forms. The dark amber oil is especially delicious when used to enhance Asian dishes. You should use it sparingly in cooking because of the unfavorable ratio of the fatty acid Omega-6 to the beneficial Omega-3.
Toasted sesame oil is a very flavorful oil and is especially popular for use in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. It is a dark oil with a nutty flavor. As the pronounced flavor of this oil will easily overwhelm more delicate ingredients, you should use it sparingly. Use toasted sesame oil as a delicious enhancement to hearty rice, legume, soy, and stir-fry dishes. This oil also gives desserts and salads a distinctive note. Valuable nutrients are lost when unrefined, toasted sesame oil is heated. Therefore, unrefined sesame oil should only be used at room temperature. Refined sesame oil has a high smoke point and can be used for roasting, baking, cooking, and frying.
You will find toasted sesame oil in organic food stores, health food stores, Asian grocery stores, most regular grocery stores, and online. Sesame oil is available from small producers who express the oil using traditional methods and from Asian grocery stores. It is sold in bottles of various sizes, from the popular miniature bottle on up. Both refined and unrefined toasted sesame oil is available commercially.
Sesame oil contains the antioxidants sesamolin and sesamol which protect the oil from adverse reactions to light and oxygen. Even cold-pressed sesame oil exhibits this behavior. Toasted sesame oil can be stored for up to a year in a cool and dark location.
Wikipedia: Sesame oil is composed of the following fatty acids: linoleic acid (41% of total), oleic acid (39%), palmitic acid (8%), stearic acid (5%) and others in small amounts ... The only essential nutrient having significant content in sesame oil is vitamin K, providing 17% of the Daily Value per 100 grams (ml) consumed supplying 884 calories (table). For fats, sesame oil is approximately equal in monounsaturated (oleic acid) and polyunsaturated (linoleic acid) fats, totaling together 80% of the fat content (above table). The remaining oil content is primarily the saturated fat, palmitic acid (about 9% of total, table).1 The powerful antioxidant sesamol is formed from the sesamolin in sesame oil (0.3% to 0.5% of total). Various health benefits are attributed to sesamol.2
Linoleic acid belongs to one of the two families of essential fatty acids, which means that the human body cannot synthesize it from other food components…. There are some suggested negative health effects related to this inflammation promoting function of linoleic acid as an omega-6 fatty acid.3
Dangers / intolerances:
As is the case with many nuts and seeds, toasted sesame oil can cause allergic reactions. As with numerous seed and nut foods, sesame oil may produce an allergic reaction, although the incidence of this effect is rare at approximately 0.1% of the population. Reports of sesame allergy are growing in developed countries during the 21st century, with the allergic mechanism from oil exposure expressed as contact dermatitis, possibly resulting from hypersensitivity to lignin-like compounds.1 Prevalence of sesame allergy varies per country. While it is one of the three most common allergens in Israel, sesame allergy prevalence is considered small relative to other allergens in the United States. Some experts consider sesame allergies to have "increased more than any other type of food allergy over the past 10 to 20 years" in the United States. Such increasing prevalence led Canada to issue regulations that require food labels to note the presence of sesame.4
Dark sesame oil is obtained from toasted white and black sesame seeds. Sesame is widely cultivated and is the oldest oilseed crop known. In addition to toasted sesame oil, the lighter and milder light, unroasted sesame oil is available which is made from unroasted seeds.1, 4
In developing countries, sesame oil is often extracted with less-expensive and manually intensive techniques such as hot water flotation, bridge presses, ram presses, the ghani process, or by using a small-scale expeller. In developed countries sesame oil is often extracted using an expeller press, larger-scale oil extraction machines, or by pressing followed by chemical solvent extraction. Sesame oil can also be extracted under low-temperature conditions using an expeller press in a process called cold pressing. This extraction method is popular among raw food adherents because it avoids exposing the oil to chemical solvents or high temperatures during extraction…. There are many variations in the colour of sesame oil: cold-pressed sesame oil is pale yellow, while Indian sesame oil (gingelly or til oil) is golden, and East Asian sesame oils are commonly a dark brown colour. This dark colour and flavour are derived from roasted/toasted sesame seeds. Cold pressed sesame oil has a different flavour than the toasted oil, since it is produced directly from raw, rather than toasted, seeds.”1 “The byproduct that remains after oil extraction from sesame seeds, also called sesame oil meal, is rich in protein (35-50%) and is used as feed for poultry and livestock.4
Literature / Sources:
- Wikipedia. Sesame oil, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Sesame_oil#Manufacture
- Kumar CM, Sathisha UV, Dharmesh S, Rao AG, Singh SA. Interaction of sesamol (3,4-methylenedioxyphenol) with tyrosinase and its effect on melanin synthesis. Biochimie. 2011;93(3):562-569.
- Wikipedia. Linoleic acid, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Linoleic_acid
- Wikipedia. Sesame, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sesame