Mustard

Mustard was originally classified as a drug and at one time was believed to hold magical properties.
See also Dijon mustard.

Yellow or white, brown, and black mustard seeds are grown extensively around the world. White and yellow seeds produce mild prepared mustard. Brown seeds create a much spicier blend. Black seeds - popular in India - are very strong.

The term “mustard” usually refers to the condiment, especially in recipes.

History

The mustard plant has been grown and harvested for centuries throughout the Far and Middle East and across the Mediterranean.

In ancient times, it bore medicinal magic, long before the Romans reportedly began incorporating the pungent spice in recipes. Later, through the auspices of a condiment-loving Pope, Dijon became the reigning center of mustard production in the early 1600s.

An interesting note: the term “Dijon” refers to a particular process of making brown mustard.

Varieties

Literally hundreds of mustard products exist today, especially in paste form. They range from mild to sweet to spicy-hot.

Mustard seeds are ground and hulled as needed.
Dry Mustard is the same as ground or mustard flour. It lacks aroma until a liquid is added.
Prepared mustards include a range of products, including brown, yellow, whole-grain, and honey. Specialty mustards are infused with a host of flavorings.
Mustard greens are a great favorite in Southern U.S. states, but are also used extensively in Asian countries.

Storage Tips

Refrigerate prepared mustards after opening. They are usable for up to 24 months. When left unopened in the pantry, water may pool in the top. Shake or stir well and the mustard is fine to use.
Whole mustard seeds will keep for about 12 months.
Dry mustard is good for approximately 6 months.

Usage Tips

Mustard is used, not only as a favorite and flavorful condiment, but it is also an emulsifying agent. That means it has binding properties that can bring two opposing ingredients together, such as water and oil.

It makes a terrific dipping sauce for German sausages or egg rolls and is a unique marinade for fish.

To maintain optimum flavor, add mustard toward the end of the cooking process. The taste dissipates from too much heat.

by BigOven editorial team
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