A paste made from ground sesame seeds, the major ingredient used in hummus. Most used in the Middle East. Tahini may be purchased in cans, jars, fresh or dehydrated. Tahini comes in two varieties; hulled and Unhulled. Unhulled tahini is very bitter. Tahini is sometimes used to replace peanut butter on bread. In the Middle East tahini is used in a variety of dishes, and is often mixed with lemon juice, salt and garlic. May be thinned out to make a sauce. It is a main ingredient in soups. You can make your own tahini by using a blender and mixing white sesame seeds with peanut oil until creamy.

Season: available year-round

How to select: Available in most grocery stores or Asian markets.

How to store: Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To prevent tahini from separating, store upside down and shake well before opening.

Substitutions: sesame butter OR 3 parts creamy peanut butter and 1 part sesame oil, OR toasted sesame seeds (for hummus) , OR toasted sesame oil (for hummus) OR peanut butter (for sauces)

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