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White Sesame Seeds - Help Please!

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megmosa May 16, 2010 01:24 PM

I bought a package of white sesame seeds at the asian market near me. 4 oz for 89¢. Maybe not so great of a deal as I just read on the back of the package:

"USER WARNINGS: DO NOT EAT AS A SNACK. RAW FOOD PLEASE WASH UNDER TAP WATER AT LEAST 5 MINUTES BEFORE COOKING. PLEASE COOK IN HOT BOILING WATER FOR 30 MINUTES BEFORE CONSUMING."

Can somebody explain to me why this is needed. I think I will throw them away before I attempt to boil them for 30 minutes, but in the off chance I do boil them, will I be able to toast them after?

I wanted to use them in the bulgogi recipe from Gourmet Today.

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  1. Cherylptw RE: megmosa May 16, 2010 01:43 PM

    I once read an article that said raw sesame seeds could be eaten raw...not sure why you need to boil these first unless to kill some type of possible bacteria.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cherylptw
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      megmosa RE: Cherylptw May 16, 2010 01:56 PM

      Yeah, it's very strange.

      In the last 15 minutes, I considered that they were 89¢ and a product of China, and decided that I will just throw them away. But I'm eager to hear any background any chowhound has.

      1. re: megmosa
        Cherylptw RE: megmosa May 16, 2010 02:41 PM

        I wouldn't just throw them away; I'd hold on to them until I found out why the reason for the warning because it might just be a common warning on some Chinese and/or Asian products. You could post this question on the general board and maybe get some answers

    2. hannaone RE: megmosa May 16, 2010 01:59 PM

      I have never seen that warning, and have never washed or boiled sesame seeds prior to toasting.
      Maybe you have whole seeds instead of the hulled? That may make a difference.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hannaone
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        megmosa RE: hannaone May 16, 2010 02:25 PM

        I'm pretty sure they are hulled. They are small and white and look just like the sesame seeds you find everywhere else. I could be wrong though.

        I googled part of the warning and saw that it has also been used on packages of Sichuan Peppercorns and black cardamom.

        1. re: megmosa
          nomadchowwoman RE: megmosa May 16, 2010 03:12 PM

          I read somewhere, maybe here, that the import of Sichuan peppercorns has been banned due to some harmful bacteria (or harmful something) found on them.

          Not sure from where they might have been imported, but I bought some sesame seeds from the bulk bin at Whole Foods yesterday for a bit more-- $2.69/lb. I asked at WF about their pine nuts recently, as they weren't marked as to origin, and I was told they did come from China.

          1. re: nomadchowwoman
            bushwickgirl RE: nomadchowwoman May 16, 2010 08:25 PM

            Is this a new ban on these peppercorns, or the older one that was lifted in 2005, after suppliers agreed to heat the peppercorns to kill the citrus canker bacteria? As far as I know, they are available here now, I've seen them for sale at my favorite spice website, and I haven't heard of any recent ban reversal.

            Don't know about the sesame, possibly just an translation issue, or a real warning to cook before eating, to get rid of bacterial contamination. As brhau says, toasting will take care of any pesky bacteria. I wonder if sesame seeds imported from anywhere else would carry that warning.

            1. re: bushwickgirl
              nomadchowwoman RE: bushwickgirl May 16, 2010 08:33 PM

              I don't know. I can't remember exactly where this info was, but I read it very recently (that's why I was thinking it could have been on this site, but I can't find it)--and it was in a note attached to a recipe that called for sichuan peppers, explaining that the author had substituted some others b/c of a ban on sichuan. Maybe the recipe and info were old, but I can't even remember exactly what the recipe was for. If you've seen the imported ones for sale, the info was most likely dated. (I have a jar in my pantry; I'm not sure exactly how old they are, but I know I didn't buy them longer than a year or so ago.)

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        brhau RE: megmosa May 16, 2010 02:50 PM

        It's a very odd warning, but you know--a lot of asian foods have strange things written on them (in english, anyway).

        As far as what to do with the sesame seeds, sorry to hear that you threw them away. You want to toast them anyway to get good flavor, and bacteria aint gonna survive toasting.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brhau
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          megmosa RE: brhau May 16, 2010 02:52 PM

          Good to know...I haven't actually thrown them out yet.

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