Abha, January 24, 2024, The Asir Region, known for its bountiful seasonal agricultural produce, has thrived due to its diverse terrain, which encompasses vast plains and majestic mountains. The Sarawat Mountains area is particularly fruitful for wheat and corn crops, while the Tihama plains are renowned for their sesame cultivation.
According to Musa Al-Ghasham, a farmer hailing from Bareq governorate in Tihama, the process of sesame cultivation spans approximately three and a half months. It commences with traditional seed sowing following plowing, and the plants are irrigated by rainfall. Before flowering and bearing fruit, the sesame plants can grow to heights exceeding one meter.
The sesame plants are identifiable by their oval-shaped leaves, and their fruits embellish vibrant green branches. As harvest time approaches, the plants transform, gradually turning brown or white as the stems and lower leaves yellow, shedding flowers. Harvesting involves allowing the sesame plants to dry for three days before bundling them into pyramid-shaped bundles, initiating a 20-day maturation process.
Al-Ghasham highlights that the most challenging phase of sesame cultivation is the seed winnowing process. This requires meticulous drying, bundling, and striking each bundle with sticks or by hand. Following this, the seeds undergo a thorough cleaning process. In the final stage, the sesame seeds are packed into sealed bags, becoming a crucial economic resource for farmers, ready for sale in local markets.
A visit to sesame farms in Bareq governorate by a Saudi Press Agency reporter revealed insights from local farmer Hayaze Al-Bareqi, who presses sesame seeds to extract oil. Al-Bareqi emphasized the significant and growing demand for sesame products during the winter season. Sesame oil, renowned for its versatile uses, is employed for frying, such as in fish dishes, or consumed raw as a nutritious addition to various salads.
Research indicates that sesame oil offers numerous health benefits, including combating heart diseases, regulating blood sugar levels, reducing blood pressure, improving bone health, alleviating anxiety and stress, mitigating inflammation in the body, and even serving as a mouthwash and remedy for dental pain. Beyond its health advantages, sesame oil has cosmetic applications for both skin and hair care.