The traditional methods of harvesting and drying sesame seeds are still being used in Fethiye today and can be seen in autumn in some locations around the area.

Sesame seeds are used in many food products in Turkey ranging from the daily Simit through to the super sweet Helva and Tahini. The oil of the seed is also used for cooking and lighting purposes.

The seed has been grown in this area for centuries and archeological excavations throughout the Middle East have identified sesame oil dating back to 3,000 BC.

Seeds

We spotted the interesting cone shaped stacks of sesame drying in the late summer sun right in Fethiye on one of the few pieces of land in Arkarca Mah still set out for agriculture.

Harvesting without machinery is a laborious task.

First the stalks are cut and then stacked vertically to dry in this cone shape.

Stones are placed on top to keep the cone in shape and weighed down in case of high winds

Drying

The drying process is very important as the seed is sensitive to rot when moisture levels are relatively small.

When dry each stalk is then shaken over a cloth to catch the seeds that fly out from the dry and brittle pods.

The tasty seed is then processed or stored for use either raw, roasted or otherwise processed.

The cones pictured are still fairly green so it will be a few weeks before they are dry enough to shake and store.

 

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