this year i grew, among other things, afghani sesame seeds - which i had never grown before. i wish i had taken photos of them in full bloom; they grow into tall stalks with white flowers that bumblebees LOVE. seriously. many a bumblebee would be completely passed out inside the flowers at sundown, too tired or cold to make it back home.
after the flowers fall off, seed pods begin to form, and after a few weeks (or maybe a couple months), some of the pods dry out and crack open, revealing columns of sesame seeds in their depths. once the pods began to dry out on the stalk, i took this as my cue to harvest - even though many pods were still not dry yet.
to harvest them, i cut the stalks down at the base and loaded them upside down into paper grocery bags. i used a few bags so that the stalks weren't crowded, this way they could dry out with ease. over the next few days, most of the pods dried and burst open, spilling the seeds into the bag. if you are lucky, you will sometimes hear this happen. once this process seemed mostly complete, i went through all the stalks and pods and helped out a few that hadn't split, or drew more seed out of pods that had split but were still holding onto a row of seeds. this was probably the most time consuming part.
after that, i poured everything from the bottom of the bag through a strainer into a bowl. a few flower and plant pieces made it through the mesh, but for the most part the seeds separated well. that's it! it was exciting to grow something that i hadn't tried before, and i'm excited about my big bowl of raw seeds. i've eaten a few plain so far but haven't toasted any of them.
have any of you grown sesame seeds? and if so, what do you do with them? toast them? grind them? store them? any favorite sesame recipes?? who knows the trick to getting the last few bits of plant parts out of the seeds?