• white (yellow), Brassica alba
black (brown), Brassica nigra)

Mustard does not really have any 'standard', but here are general descriptions of major types:

Dijon-Style Mustard: A smooth blend including brown mustard seed, vinegar and other acidulants, water, white wine, and seasonings such as salt and tarragon. Characteristic of Dijon-style mustard is a smooth appearance resulting from the removal of the mustard bran by passing the product through a screening device, and a pungent flavor from the brown seed.

Hot Mustard: Sharp-flavored mustard seeds (brown or oriental) are added to vinegar, water and other seasonings such as allspice, tarragon or shallots. Chinese, English and some German varieties fall into this category with tastes ranging from sharply pungent to very hot.

Yellow or Prepared Mustard: A smooth paste of yellow mustard seed, (mildest of all mustard varieties) vinegar, water, tumeric, and seasonings such as salt, clove and coriander.

Coarse-Ground Mustard (Country style): A blend, including brown mustard seed, that is coarsely ground, vinegar, water, salt and a variety of spices and flavorings. Characteristic of coarse ground mustard is the presence of highly visible specks of mustard bran and a pungent flavor from the brown seed.

Spicy Brown-Style Mustard (Spicy brown, German-style): A blend including brown mustard seed that is finely ground, vinegar, water, salt and a variety of spices and flavorings. Characteristic of spicy brown mustard is a uniform brown color, with or without visible specks of mustard bran, and a pungent flavor from the brown seed.

In Middleton, Wisconsin the Mustard Museum has the world's largest mustard collection. The museum contains more than 3,500 varieties of mustard.

Mustard was formerly made up into balls with honey or vinegar and a little cinnamon, to keep till wanted, when they were mixed with more vinegar. It was sold in balls till Mrs. Clements, of Durham, on July 10, 1720*, invented the method of preparing mustard flour or powder, which long went under the name of ‘Durham Mustard’.
*Date sent in by Valdi Reinas, Estonia

All parts of the mustard plant are edible, including the leaves, seeds and flowers.

In Denmark and India, it’s thought that spreading mustard seeds around the exterior of the home will keep out evil spirits.

National Mustard Day and The Mustard Festival are held on the first Saturday of August each year.

Pope John XXII was so fond of mustard that he created a new Vatican position, the 'grand moutardier du pape' (mustard-maker to the pope) and appointed his nephew to the post.

Mustard plants produce about 1,000 pounds of seeds per acre

In one year at New York's Yankee Stadium more than 1,600 gallons plus 2,000,000 individual packets of mustard are consumed.

Most of the mustard seeds used in Dijon, France are actually grown in the United States and Canada. Canada produces about 90 percent of the world's supply of mustard seeds.

Florida Mustard, is a mild mustard made in France's Champagne district. It is flavored with wine from the same region and is also known as Champagne Mustard.

Over 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed worldwide each year.

Americans use more mustard than any other country in the world.

George J. French introduced his French's mustard in 1904, the same year that the hot dog was introduced to America at the St. Louis World's Fair.

In the 1978 movie 'National Lampoon's Animal House' Bluto (John Belushi) poured a whole jar of mustard on himself at a toga party and smeared it all over his shirt.

Mustard's pungency results from Acrinyl Isothiocyanate (in Brassica hirta), and Allyl Isothiocyanate (in Brassica nigra and Brassica juncea).
     These compounds don't actually exist in the seeds, but are formed when the seeds are broken, releasing enzymes and other compounds within the seeds to combine in the presence of some form of moisture.
     The temperature of the liquid which is used to prepare the mustard, as well as its acidity, determine the heat of the mixture. Too high a temperature, or a pH that is too low, and the prepared mustard will not be hot. The enzymes responsible for the transformation are easily destroyed by heat--the seeds are ground, commercially, in a way that prevents build-up of heat from friction.
     In many south Indian recipes, the whole seeds are fried in hot fat, which provides, not additional spicy "heat" but, a pleasant nutty flavor. If you want the heat of mustard in a cooked dish, allow these enzymes to react first, then add the empowered product to the dish to be cooked.
Generously contributed by Gary Allen, an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Herbalist in the Kitchen. Logo

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