Why I still buy tahini

I like hummus. And halva, and a host of other things that tend to rely on tahini. And I like to cook. Capping this, tahini is EASY to make.

So why the heck do I still buy tahini?

Because I haven’t mastered getting it smooth.

OK, here’s the simple deal of tahini. It’s sesame seed butter, made the same way you make any nut butter. You grind the nuts/seeds, you add some oil till it’s the right consistency, then you put it on the shelf till you need/want it. Roasting the seeds/nuts a bit before grinding will bring out more flavor.

My problems is that regardless of whether it’s food processor or mortar and pestle, my tahini tastes a bit gritty. In some things, say a tahini and lemon juice based salad dressing, that’s fine. But in halva and hummus it’s, well, it’s not fine. The texture is irksome.

So if you’ve got a recommendation feel free to toss it in here. Because the flavor of homemade is miles above that of store-bought, and as a bonus it only costs about half as much.

For those who’ve not made it themselves, it’s the standard nut-butter method. Lightly roast some sesame seeds till they start smelling good (because they’re releasing some of the oil), and pull them out to cool. Add them to the grinder or food processor or whatever, and add 1/4 the nuts or seeds’ weight in oil – in the case of tahini, olive oil. Add it as you would to mayonnaise, just a drizzle at a time, and stop when it’s the consistency you want. If using a food processor or blender you’ll want to pause frequently to scrape the sides down.


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