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List of Edible Seeds (Nutrition & Uses)

There are various types of seeds which are planted to get the products while there are others which could be eaten directly and also planted if need be to get the derivatives. These edible seeds could be eaten raw or cooked before eating and in this list is a compilation of these edible seeds. If there are seeds or certain information that should be on the list, lets know in the comment section below. 

1) Citrullus colocynthis (Egusi seeds - Melon)

English Name (s): Melon Seeds, Bitter cucumber seeds, Bitter apple seeds, Desert gourd seeds, Wild gourd seeds, Vine of Sodom seeds
Local Name (s): Nigeria (Egusi), Ghana (Agushi or Akatoa), Ibara, Wild Watermelon
Botanical Name: Citrullus colocynthis
Egusi seeds are seeds from the Melon fruit also known as gourd or squash. The fruit from where melon seeds are extracted from are from a different variety of watermelon but a large seeded variety. The shells of the seeds are yellow in colour while the inner seed is usually milky white.

Nutritional Info:

The Seeds are rich in Fat/Oil and Protein. The oil content of the seeds contains acids like steric acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid and palmitic acid.

Uses In Cuisine:

- Egusi is grown in different countries such as Nigeria, Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon and Mali just to name a few and its uses varies. In Nigeria for Instance, it is majorly used in making various types of Egusi Soups and stews. 

2) Irvingia gabonensis Seeds (Ogbono)

English Name:      African Bush Mango Seeds , Bush mango seeds, Wild mango seeds. 
Local Name (s): Ogbono/ Ugiri (Igbo), Apon/ Aapon (Yoruba), Goron/Goronor (Hausa), Ogwi (Benin), Mbukpabuyo (Efik/ Ibibio), Apioro (Niger- Delta), Manguier/Sauvage (French), Dika , Odika, Iba-Tree, Duiker Nut e.t.c. 
Botanical Name (s): Irvingia gabonensis
Ogbono seeds found within the African bush mango fruit when cracked open reveal little brown seeds. It's mostly used in preparing Ogbono soup, a tasty Nigerian soup which is viscus in nature hence the nickname "draw soup".
"According to Ladipo et al., (1996), the Irvingia genus is made up of 7 species comprising of Irvingia wombolu, Irvingia gabonensis, Irvingia giarobur, Irvingia excels, Irvingia malayaria, Irvingia gradifolia and Irvingia smithii. Unlike the pulp of some other Irvingia spp., the pulp of Irvingia gabonensis is edible, sweet and juicy. Irvingia gabonensis is closely related to Irvingia wombolu. While Irvingia wombolu bears inedible and bitter fruits, the Irvingia gabonensis bears edible ones. Irvingia excelsa Mildbr fruit pulp is hard and inedible while Irvingia smithii Hook.f. fresh fruit is sweet and edible." 

Nutritional Info

According to research, Ogbono seeds is an excellent source of Fat , Carbohydrate, Protein, Calcium and Iron while 100 grams of ogbono seeds contains 697 calories. The approximate fatty acid composition is myristic acid 33-70 per cent, laureic acid 20-59 per cent, oleic acid 1-11 per cent, palmitic acid 2 per cent and stearic acid 1 per cent.

Uses In Cuisine: 

Ogbono is grown in different parts of africa such as Angola, Benin Republic, Congo, Cote d' Ivoire, Southern Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana and Togo and its uses varies according to where its grown. 
- In Nigeria, it's mainly used for soup 
- In other parts of Africa, It is known as dika nuts and this could be eaten raw or roasted.
- It could also be crushed and pressed to produce an edible cooking oil or margarine or pressed to for a chocolate like block known as dika cake for preservation. 
Click here for ogbono recipes

3) Sesamum indicum Seeds (sesame seeds)

English Name:     Sesame Seeds
Local Name: -
Botanical Name: Sesamum indicum
Sesame seeds are seeds from an okro like pod or bun which comes from a flowering plant genus known as benne or sesamum. It's an edible oil rich seed which is cultivated across Africa in countries such as Nigeria, Tanzania and Sudan. There are different species of the genus sesanum which are native to sub-saharan africa but the sesamum indicum type was first grown in india. 

Nutritional Info: 

Sesame seeds is rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber, protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, thiamin, folate, protein, tryptophan, phosphorus, zinc and several B vitamins. 100 grams of sesame seeds would give 573 calories. 

Uses In Cuisine: 

The most common uses of sesame seeds are; 
- As a topping for ham burger breads or a great addition to normal breads for its nutritional benefits
- In some places, it's bakes into stick like crackers
- Sesame seeds provide a great amount of oil which is used in general cooking 
- It's mixed with other nuts and made into brittle snacks, cookies, wafers. 

4) Pentaclethra macrophylla seeds

English Name:     African Oil Bean
Local Name(s):    Apara (Yoruba), Ugba/ Ukpaka (Igbo)
Botanical Name: Pentaclethra macrophylla
"The African oil bean (Pentaclethra macrophylla) is a native of tropical Africa and belongs to the family Leguminosea. It is popular in Nigeria where it is known by several names such as Apara in Yoruba for the seed as well as the fermented product and the most prominent being Ugba (Igbo), as it is a popular condiment and meat analogue among consuming populations (Enujiugha and Akanbi, 2005)."
"The tree thrives in the Eastern and Southern parts of Nigeria. It grows to a height of about 21 m up to 6 m in girth and it is well branched, forming crown-like canopy. It flowers between March and April after which the pods (brown and woody when matured) open by explosive mechanism, dispersing the seeds and curls up. The seeds are dorso-ventrally flattered, hard, brown in colour and about 6 cm long and 3 cm wide (Achinewhu et al., 1998)"
Nutritional Info: 
"P. macrophylla has been reported to be rich in protein (48%), amino acids (Ikediobi, 1981)" 
The seeds also contain essential fatty acids within the seed oil, as well as many minerals, particularly magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, phosphorus and calcium, and trace amounts of vitamins. However, the fermentation process decreases the bean's levels of vitamin and minerals to the point where no phosphorus is found in ugba.

Culinary Uses:

- The mesocarp of P. macrophylla seed serve as food, eaten as snack or dessert (evening meal) or used as condiment. It is prepared by first boiling for about 12 h, dehulled, sliced, wrapped in plantain leaves and allowed to ferment for a period of between 2-4 days at ambient temperatures. It may then be mixed with palm oil, spiced and eaten with cooked cassava chips (African salad) or with roasted yam. 
- It is used in preparing different delicacies such as ugba and okporoko, sausages, nkwobi, porridge, abacha salad, soups and vegetables yam. 
African Oil bean seed recipes:

5) Salvia hispanica seeds (chia seeds)

English Name:      Chia seeds 
Local Name: -
Botanical Name: Salvia hispanica but mostly identified as Salvia hispanica L. or Salvia columbariae Benth
Chia seeds are seeds from a specie of flowering plant in the mint/ Mentha family. It originates from central and southern Mexico and GuatemalaArgentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Australia, and the southwestern United States. When soaked in liquid, the seeds absorb several times their weight and this makes them hydrophilic. Soaked chia seeds tends to develop a gelatinous coating around it and this is why drinks made with chia seeds tends to have a gelatinous texture. To eat chia seeds, it's best to sprout them by soaking in water. This releases the enzyme inhibitors that are used to protect the seeds

Nutritional Info: 

It's rich in omega-3 fatty acids,essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid; mucin; strontium’ vitamins A, B, E and D, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fiber. calcium. It also contains thiamine, niacin ,riboflavin and folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, iodine, Iron and calcium.

Uses In Cuisine:

- Ground chia seeds (The gel from the seeds) are commonly used as a replacement substitute for eggs in vegan baking. 
- They're perfect in porridges and puddings.
- They make an ideal addition to baked goods including breads,energy bars, cakes and biscuits.

6) Coriandrum sativum seeds

English Name: Coriander Seeds, cilantro seeds, Chinese parsley seeds
Local Name: -
Botanical Name: Coriandrum sativum
Coriander seeds are fruits from the coriander plant. The dried coriander fruits also known as seeds are widely used as a spice. Roasting or heating the seeds in a dry pan heightens the flavour, aroma, and pungency. Ground coriander seed loses flavour quickly in storage and is best ground fresh.

Nutritional Info:

Coriander seeds contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium and manganese

Culinary Uses:

- It's widely used as a spice for stews and curries
- In some places, they are used in brewing certain styles of beer e.g wheat beers from Belgium

7) Linum usitatissimum seeds

English Name (s): Common flax , Linseed
Local Name:          
Botanical Name: Linum usitatissimum

Nutritional Info: 

Flaxseed is a rich source of healthy fat, antioxidants, and fiber. The seeds contain Protein, Carbs,Vitamin B1, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium
Lignans, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA or omega-3 fatty acids.

Culinary Uses:

- Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement
- In some places, it is made into bread

8) Ataiko Seed

English Name:
Local Name:      Ataiko / Urima
Botanical Name:
Ataiko is popular seed which originates from the Niger delta parts of Nigeria. It is used in preparing certain spices such as Banga spice or Pepper soup spice. 

Culinary Uses: 

- It is usually ground into fine powder and mixed with other spices and used in the preparation of soups like banga soup

9) Iregege Seed

English Name:
Local Name: Iregege
Botanical Name:
Iregege is popular seed which originates from the Niger delta parts of Nigeria. It is used in preparing certain spices such as Banga spice or Pepper soup spice. 

Culinary Uses: 

- It is usually ground into fine powder and mixed with other spices and used in the preparation of soups like banga soup

10) Nigella sativa seeds

English Name:    Black Seed
Botanical Name: Nigella sativa
Other Name(s): Black caraway, Nigelle de Crête, Black Cumin, Cheveux de Vénus, Cominho Negro, Comino Negro, Cyah Dane, Cumin Noir, Fennel Flower, Fitch, Graine de Nigelle, Graine Noire, Habatul Sauda, Kalajaji, Kalajira, Kalonji, La Grainer Noire, Love in a Mist, Nutmeg Flower, Poivrette, Roman-Coriander, Schwarzkummel, Siyah Dane, Toute Épice, Upakuncika, Shoniz, Small Fennel, Fennel Flower

11) Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds

English Name:     Fenugreek, 
Local Name:        Samudra methi (India)
Botanical Name: Trigonella foenum-graecum seeds
When the seed kernels are ground and mixed with water they greatly expand. The seed is used in Ethiopia as a natural herbal medicine in the treatment of diabetes

Nutritional Info: 

It is a rich source of protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, iron and several other minerals

Culinary Uses: 

- It's mostly used as a spice

Fruits that look like seeds

Uziza Seeds (Ashanti pepper)
Click Here For More

Black Pepper Fruit
Click Here For More


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