Mustard and mustard seeds - history

mustard and mustard seeds history

Mustard seeds can be actually found even in the parables of the Bible, e.g. in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Physically, they have been found in Sumerian vessels discovered near Baghdad. The process of production of prepared mustard was described in the 1st century AD by Columella, a Roman writer.

Back then, mustard and horseradish were considered useful in treatment of strokes, ulcers, boils and rheumatic pains. According to authors of various works, the name "mustard" came from the Latin phrase "mustum ardens", meaning "burning must".

In the seventeenth century, mustard seeds were used as a warming agent and treatment of colds.

Mustard seeds are still used in medicine: as a diuretic, in digestive disorders or for GI tract diseases as a coating agent. Mustard seeds extract is also popular for GI tract diseases, such as chronic gastritis or enteritis, digestive disorders, constipation, stomach or duodenal ulcers. The seeds are also recommended as rinse in tonsillitis or sore throat.

The volatile oil of this plant is often used in pharma industry, especially for arthritis pain patches, as well as patches for sore throat. Mustard oil has a number of beneficial properties:

  • it stmulates secretion of pancreatic juice, gastric acid and bile, improving digestion;
  • it lowers blood pressure;
  • it is used in production of various ointments;
  • it has antibacterial properties.

Mustard seeds in cuisine

The production of this condiment was started in France by mustard makers of Dijon (a city and port by Burgundy Canal) who were very secretive and protective of the recipe. Dijon mustard became so famous that it has entered into festive menus of Paris celebrities. There were also numerous people who attempted to recreate the original recipe, creating "fake" Dijon mustard.

Usually mustard seeds are roasted in hot oil before they are added to a dish. This is done in order for the seeds to obtain their pungent aroma.

Mustard seeds contain significant amounts of oil fat (from 18% to 40%) and both technical and edible oil can be extracted from the seeds.

The basic ingredients of prepared mustard are: ground white or black mustard seeds, vinegar, salt, sugar and spices (e.g. pepper, paprika, allspice, horseradish).