Traditional Harvesting Skills in Turkey


One of the more interesting aspects of buying a property in Turkey or any other country far removed from the one in which you grew up, is getting to know that particular area’s customs. Here at Oceanwide Properties Turkey we believe that as always there’s going to be some skills and trades that you’ve never encountered in action before and it’s always fascinating to see them being carried out – especially if those are traditional skills with centuries of history behind them.

sesame harvest

Sesame Seed Production in Turkey

And that’s where sesame seed production in Turkey’s Fethiye area comes in. Harvesting and drying of this nutritious grain is still carried out the old-fashioned way in Turkey today. You’ll find sesame seeds, of course, in lots of Turkish dishes such as the yummy spread Tahini and the incredibly sweet Helva. Its unusual and rich nutty flavour is often used as a topping for bread and pastries too. It’s also a favourite for rolling sushi in.

You’ll also come across sesame seeds used to make cold-pressed or toasted sesame oil for salad dressings or cooking with (this method of using sesame oil in cooking is believed to go back as far as 3000 BC. Certainly the explorer Marco Polo makes mention of “an outstanding flavour of sesame oil” he had encountered in Abyssinia.

Harvesting of Sesame Seeds in Turkey

To harvest, the stalks of the plant are cut down and set upright and vertically, fashioned into a cone-shape. Stones are strategically placed in an effort to retain the cone-like structure and keep it weighed down. The seeds are then simply shaken from the pods and stored. The husks (or meal) that’s left behind after the seeds have been extricated is often used to feed chickens and other poultry and farm animals.

Other Uses for Sesame Seeds

Believe it or not, sesame oil was often used for perfume making, producing wine and brandy, mixing with medicine and even for ink. Baby in Babylon women mixed honey and sesame sesame seeds together to eat believing the mixture would keep them young while Roman soldiers were convinced that mixing seeds with honey would keep up their strength (certainly the sugar in the honey would have given them plenty of energy!).The seeds themselves range from white to charcoal black.

A big use for sesame oil today is, of course, with massage where it’s regularly used as a carrier oil (a non-perfumed oil that scents are added to). The ancient Indian form of healing called Ayurveda use it regularly (one of their massages involves pouring warm sesame oil onto the forehead).

Nutritional Value of Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds tend to be rich in a whole variety of vitamins and minerals such as bone-strengthening calcium, copper, manganese and vitamins B1 and E so a good addition to your diet.

Oceanwide Properties Turkey are based in the Fethiye area but also have outlets in Istanbul and other areas of the country. If you’re interested in property for sale in Fethiye, Istanbul or other areas of Turkey then we’d be happy to show you current Turkey properties on offer.

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