We've been delving deeper into oils and fats, springing from a couple of questions Christy posed back a week or so. Her tongue in cheek caveat for asking was that she's “always looking at that little bottle of sesame oil and wondering…” She hits the nail on the head with this observation; sesame oil is one many of us have but use quite sparingly, and as such, it's prone to being well past its prime when we next reach for the bottle. Fortunately, you can make your own at home, and enjoy a fresher, more robust product completely free of additives as well.
Sesame oil is derives from sesame seeds; the nutritional value of the oil closely mirrors the seed form, containing important trace elements like calcium, copper, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Extracting your own oil is a bit labor intensive, but also a fun exercise in cooking chemistry. Here's how to do up a small batch without the need for a $150 manual oil press.
1/4 Cup fresh white Sesame Seeds
1 Cup fresh Sunflower Oil
In a preheated 350° F oven, dry roast fresh white sesame seeds on a clean, dry baking sheet. After about 10 minutes, give the seed a good stir, then continue roasting, watching carefully, for another 5 to 10 minutes. When the seeds have turned light golden brown and release a distinct nutty scent, remove them from the oven, and place them on a plate to cool.
Non-pressed, reasonably effective extraction of sesame oil is achieved with moderate heat and sunflower oil, at a ratio of .25:1 cups sesame to sunflower. In a heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat, combine the oil and seeds. Stir occasionally and allow to heat through for 10 minutes.
Remove the mix from heat and, while still warm, pour carefully into a blender. Process in short pulses until the seeds are evenly broken up into a slurry with the oil.
Transfer the slurry to a glass bowl, cover with a clean cloth or paper towel and allow to steep and cool for 2 hours.
Strain the oil blend through butter muslin into a clean bowl. You may require two straining passes to clarify the oil adequately if you use a cheesecloth of lesser density.
Store the extracted oil in an airtight glass container for up to 3 months.