Mustard and mustard seeds
Mustard plants and their seeds have been known since prehistoric times. Pliny names over 40 therapeutic agents with mustard seeds as the key ingredient. Romans used to add them to all their sophisticated dishes. Legend has it that mustard leaves grew incredibly fast: in the time it took to prepare a dish, they would grow so large that they could be used in a salad. Mustard seeds were also a frequently used ingredient of love potions.
There are several types of mustard seeds. Mustard seeds are mainly grown in the Mediterranean countries and South-East Europe. In medieval era, mustard seeds played an important role in people's lives. Scattering mustard seeds over the doorstep was considered a bad omen; it meant there would be quarrels. Sowing mustard seeds into the bedsheets could strengthen the marriage, and burying mustard seeds in the garden at midnight had the power to ward off any curses cast by jealous neighbours.
MUSTARD (brassica) is an annual, open-pollinated plant Its seeds contain a significant amount of fat:
- Yellow mustard - approx. 28%
- Brown mustard- approx. 31%
- Oriental mustard - approx. 35%
Depending on the processing technique, it is possible to obtain oil that can be used in food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, as well as for technical purposes.
Press cakes cannot be used as feed for animals as they contain mustard oils. However, they can be used for producing mustard.
Brown and oriental mustard seeds are most typically used in sauces. Yellow mustard is a very good preserving agent and its often used for marinating. It can enrich the taste of gherkins as well as various vegetables and luncheon meats. When grinded, it can be added to fatty meats, sausages, boiled fish, hot and could sauces, casseroles, and stewed vegetables. Its freshly cut leaves can be used in salads.
Apart from acting as a condiment, mustard seeds have many practical applications. They can be used around the household to remove bad smells from pots and pans. It’s enough to put a couple of broken seeds into a pot and then fill it with water. In medicine, it is mainly used in powdered form as poultice that improves blood circulation, relieves pain and inflammation. The downside is that mustard seeds can irritate sensitive skin.
Learn more about mustard farming!
Yellow mustard is used as a spice. The hot, burning taste of mustard comes from the essential oils inside the seeds.
Brown mustard seeds are used as condiment, but also in medicine. Their colour ranges from dark brown to black.
Oriental mustard contains tannins that demonstrate activity against microorganisms (bacteriae and viruses).