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Yellow Mustard

White/Yellow Mustard, Salad mustard, American Mustard, Yellow Mustard

Sinapis hirta Sinapis alba

White Mustard, Brown Mustard, Black Mustard, Mustard Greens, Indian Mustard, Salad Mustard, American Mustard, Yellow Mustard

Mustards are several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis whose small seeds are used as a spice and turned into the condiment known as mustard or prepared mustard. The seeds are also pressed to make mustard oil, and the leaves can be eaten raw as mustard greens and in salads, or cooked in soups, and sauces.

Sinapis alba by Thomas Schoepke koeh-265.jpg
Yellow Mustard Sinapis Alba

The term mustard sometimes is used as a collective name for all members of the genus Brassica (a taxon that also includes cabbage, turnip, raddish, collard greens, kale and other well-known vegetables), and Brassicaceae is sometimes known as the "mustard family."

  • Brassica alba, Sinapis hirta (White/Yellow Mustard)
  • Brassica juncea (Brown Mustard, Mustard Greens, Indian Mustard)
  • Brassica nigra(Black Mustard)

Mustard is mainly known as a condiment around the world. The seed can be purchased whole, cracked, ground and powdered. Mustard seed is used whole for pickling or toasted for use in dishes. The ground, cracked or powdered mustard seeds are often processed into a condiment. Processed mustard seed is mixed with water, salt, or wines, and many other liquids and other flavorings, herbs, and spices to produce a paste or a sauce. This condiment can vary in tint from an intense yellow to a dark brown and everything in between. Mustard when it is mixed with other liquids has an almost distinctive heat and it has a bright aroma and a sharp taste.

Yellow mustard (prepared mustard) is the most commonly used mustard in the United States and North America and is often referred to simply as "mustard". Outside North America it is known as American mustard.

In the United States yellow mustard is paired with meats and cheeses, sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs and used as a key ingredient in many potato salads, barbecue sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. Yellow mustard is also used to form a crust on barbecue meat, called bark, by rubbing it on the meat prior to applying a dry rub.

American mustard has a very mild mustard flavor overpowered by the flavor of vinegar and brightly colored yellow by the inclusion of turmeric. This form of prepared mustard was introduced in 1904 by George T. French as "cream salad mustard".

Of all the mustards of the world some of the strongest is English mustard. It is derived from only ground mustard seed, water, and salt and occasionally with a small quantity of lemon juice and almost never has any type of vinegar in it. French mustards have vinegar or wine and sweeteners added and sometimes horseradish (Dijon). This mustard is usually milder than other mustards are. German mustard is typically even milder still.

White mustard seeds are considered milder
White and black mustard seed

Sinapis hirta or Sinapis. alba, known as white or yellow mustard, grows wild in North Africa, the Middle East, and Mediterranean Europe and has spread farther by long cultivation. White mustard plants are shorter than other species, have leaves that are deeply lobbed. The seed is much larger than those of the other two species of mustard (Brassica juncea, Brassica nigra), and form in short, hairy pods that have five to six seeds, that are retained when ripe. When the ripe seed is moistened, it will give off a thick, sticky, gelatinous fluid from its yellow seed coat that dries to a whitish residue, possibly explaining why its common name in North America is yellow mustard and its common name in Europe is white mustard. While seeds of B. nigra and B. juncea are considered to have the same pungency, seeds of white mustard are considered milder.

Because of its antibacterial properties, prepared mustard does not require refrigeration, will not grow mold, mildew or harmful bacteria. Unrefrigerated mustard will lose pungency more quickly and can acquire a bitter after taste or brown from oxidation. Mustard can last indefinitely and should be stored in a tightly sealed, sterilized container in a cool, dark place. Mixing in a small amount of wine or vinegar will often revitalize dried out mustard. Some types of prepared mustard stored for a long time may separate, causing mustard water, which can be corrected by stirring or shaking.

Culinary Use

Most commercially prepared mustards are far less concentrated or intense than home-produced versions. The homemade versions of mustard are often much hotter in contrast. Hearty and robust mustards that are considered strong may cause the eyes to water, make you sneeze, or even inflame the nasal passageways and esophagus. Because of people having allergic reactions to mustard and mustard based products, the European Union Producers must now label these products with a word of warning as having possible allergen hazards.

Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant and often has a sharp, pungent flavor, as mixing the ground seed with cold liquid causes the release of the enzyme myrosinase, myrosin, and sinigrin responsible for mustard's characteristic heat.

It is used as a cream, a seed, or powdered in the cuisines of India, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, northern Europe, the British Isles, the Balkan States, Asia, North America, and Africa.

There are, of course, many types of prepared mustard with many flavor variations. In France, there are 3 main variations;

  • Dijon: light in color, strong in flavor.
  • Bordeaux: darker with a milder more vinegary flavor, and commonly includes sugar and tarragon.
  • Meaux: made from crushed mustard seeds rather than ground powder, and is generally mild.
German mustards, of which there are many, are by and large of the Bordeaux type.
English mustards are the strongest overall and can be a surprise to the uninitiated.
American yellow mustard is a mixture of the mildest powdered mustard seeds with vinegar, sugar, and of course, turmeric, giving it the characteristic bright yellow appearance.

Mustard Greens

The leaves of the mustard plants, called mustard greens, are edible and quite delicious. Young mustard greens make great additions to salads and sautéed mustard greens, a great side dish. Add chopped mustard greens to a pasta salad with chopped tomatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese for a Mediterranean flair.

Mustard Oil

While most mustards contain the whole seed ground, the oils can be extracted from the chaff and meal of the seed. Mustard oil is very concentrated, it is used in food preparation rather than a post-preparation condiment.

The term mustard oil is used for three different oils that are made from mustard seeds:

  • A fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds
  • An essential oil resulting from grinding the seeds, mixing them with water, and extracting the resulting volatile oil by distillation
  • An oil made by infusing mustard seed extract into another vegetable oil, such as soybean oil or canola oil

In History

In the anonymously compiled Roman cookbook from the late 4th or early 5th century, Apicius (also called De re coquinaria), a recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, pepper, caraway, lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dill, celery, thyme, oregano, onion, honey, vinegar, fish stock, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.

An early use of mustard as a condiment in England was mustard balls: coarsely ground mustard seed was combined with flour and cinnamon, moistened, rolled into balls, and then dried. These mustard balls were easily stored and when needed, easily combined with vinegar or wine to make a mustard paste.

In 1777, Maurice Grey, who developed a machine to prepare powder from the seeds, joined forces with Auguste Poupon to form the Grey-Poupon Dijon mustard (which is made from brown or black mustard seeds mixed with white wine), and at the turn of the twentieth century, an American, Francis French, made a milder version using white mustard seeds colored yellow with turmeric and mixed with vinegar to give it a distinctive a tart taste.

Today, Canada grows 85 percent to 90 percent of all the mustard seed for the international market and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan produces almost half of the world's supply of mustard seed.

Medicinal use

Both the seeds and leaves traditionally have been used for medicinal , as an emetic, and diuretic, as well as a topical treatment for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. Mustard also has potential pharmacological effects in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes; however, there are limited clinical trials to support its use for any indication.

Mounting evidence indicates cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed or sautéed mustard greens is second only to steamed collard greens and steamed kale in a recent study of cruciferous vegetables and their ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. The greens are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese providing the highest level support for four conventional antioxidant nutrients. When bile acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body. Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile acid binding is a lowering of the body's cholesterol level. It's worth noting that steamed mustard greens (and all steamed forms of the cruciferous vegetables) show much greater bile acid binding ability than raw mustard greens. - whfoods.org

As an herbal medicine, simply boil dried or fresh leaves and strain the "tea", this decoction of Yerba Buena is effective for minor ailments such as headaches, toothaches, and joint pains. It can also relive stomachaches due to gas buildup and indigestion.

Herbal practitioners have many uses for the mustard plant that include the seeds, stems and leaves:

  • Mustard stimulates the blood stream, assist in metabolizing body fat and induce weight loss
  • Poultices and mustard plasters have been a remedy for arthritis, achy joints, neck pain, backaches, occasional muscle cramps, and relief of sore muscles
  • It dilates the blood vessels to make blood flow more easily to the exterior of the skin and helps to lower a fever and removes toxins from your system
  • An antiseptic rinse to soothe sore throats
  • The mustard plaster was used in cases of cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia

Other Usage
Mustard oil was once popular as cooking oil in northern India and although the popularity of mustard oil receded due to the availability of mass-produced vegetable oils it remains intricately embedded in the culture. Some traditional uses are:

  • It is poured on both sides of the threshold when someone important comes home for the first time (e.g. a newly-wedded couple or a son or daughter when returning after a long absence, or succeeding in exams or an election
  • Used as traditional jaggo pot fuel in Punjabi weddings
  • Used as part of home-made cosmetics during mayian
  • Used as fuel for lighting earthen lamps (diyas) on festive occasions such as Diwali
  • Used in hair. Known to be extremely beneficial for hair growth

The plant also is used to produce a high quality protein, and after extraction of this oil, the residual high protein meal can be soaked in water and fed to cattle.

There has been recent research into varieties of mustards that have a high oil content for use in the production of biodiesel, a renewable liquid fuel similar to diesel fuel. The biodiesel made from mustard oil has good cold flow properties and cetane ratings.

The leftover meal after pressing out the oil has also been found to be an effective pesticide.