Mustard, a member of the cruciferae family of plants, originated in the Medi-terranean and the Middle East, but is now widely cultivated elsewhere in Europe and in the United States. It has been used almost since the beginning of recorded time – both its culinary and medicinal properties are mentioned in early Greek and Roman writings.

There are three main varieties of mustard: white mustard, which has yellowish-orange seeds; black mustard, which has reddish-black seeds; and the less common wild mustard, which pro-duces rather oily seeds which are not used on their own but are sometimes mixed with the other varieties.

Although mustard is cultivated pri-marily for its seeds, its leaves, which are known as mustard greens, are also used.

Medicinal properties were once attributed to mustard greens, but they are now mainly used as a vegetable, raw or cooked.

The larger leaves are generally boiled before use to reduce their very sharp, hot flavour.

Mustard seeds are ground to produce a powder and an oil. Pure mustard oil is edible, but it is mainly used in the manu- facture of soap, leather and woollen goods and other industrial processes. In World War I, the oil extracted from black mustard was a prime ingredient of mustard gas.

Mustard used as a condiment is made from a mixture of black, white and sometimes wild mustard seeds, and their oils. The seeds are ground and sold as a fine powder, usually with the addition of a ground cereal such as wheat flour to absorb the natural oils and act as a preservative. The powder may be mixed with water or milk to form a paste before use, or added in small quantities in powdered form as a flavouring, for example, in MAYONNAISE.

Ready-made mustard, generally sold in sealed jars, is made mainly from a mixture of ground black, white and sometimes wild mustard seeds (although some countries such as France have mustards made purely from black seeds), mixed to a paste with salt, spices and vinegar or wine.

Mustard may be used to flavour meat, fish, cheese and vegetables and to season soups and sauces.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus