The harvest moments and history of sesame seed around the world 24-02-2020

The history of the sesame plant

On a clay tablet from the Babylonian culture, dating back to 2000 B.C. it is written in cuneiform writing “sesame spice the gods”, which testifies the esteem that was given to the plant in ancient times. The prized seeds were even placed in Egyptian graves and were found, for example, in the grave of Tutankhamen (Egyptian king from 1333 to 1323 BC). A painting in a 4000-year-old Egyptian grave shows a baker stirring sesame seeds into his dough. The history of sesame seed is rich and have been used centuries before Christ.

Sesame, also called ‘sesamum indicum’ is a plant from the Pedaliaceae family. The sesame plant is one of the oldest crops for oil consumption. Sesame seed can contain up to 50% oil content and is grown in tropical areas around the globe, especially Africa, South America and India. The Arabic name for sesame seed is ‘saasim’ or ‘simsim’ (USDA, 2020).

The herbaceous sesame plant can grow up to 1 meter in height. It requires only a minimum amount of water to grow. The seeds and the plant roots are used in cuisine and for medicinal purposes. The high content of anti-oxidants causes the sesame seed to be very healthy (Businesswirecom, 2019).

The two types of sesame seed; natural and hulled (with and without skin) are also used for different purposes. The natural sesame seed type for example can be toasted for a great nutty taste. Although hulled sesame seed can also be toasted, it is not that common. Next to the “normal” sesame seed, there is also black sesame seed, which is rich in aroma and flavour. The taste of black sesame seed is therefore a perfect combination on sushi dishes.


In history harvesting sesame seed was difficult. Farmers had to wait for the exact moment the sesame plant was ripe and ready for harvest. If they waited too long, the sesame plant bursts open and all the seeds jump out of the plant, which resulted in the loss of all the seeds. Harvesting sesame seed nowadays is more convenient; they do not burst open anymore. One kilo of sesame seed pods contains a lot of small seeds, depending on the origin.

Because sesame seed only grow in sub-tropical regions, the overall climate is the most important influence on the time of harvest.

Below you will find the biggest global sesame growers and their harvest periods:

India – October

Africa – November

Mexico – December

Latin/South America – May-June

India also has a small summer crop in May next to the main crop in October. The harvest moments for black sesame seed is more or less the same as for the regular sesame seed.

At Dipasa we hope the above contributes in answering some questions you may have regarding the harvest moments of sesame seed. If you would like specifications or prices regarding our sesame seed, do not hesitate to contact our sales department at:



Businesswirecom. (2019). Businesswirecom. Retrieved 19 July, 2019, from

USDA (2020. Retrieved 21 February 2020, from