Seven Marvellous Facts About Mustard

mustard plant

 

Probably one of the world’s most popular condiments, mustard is used in cuisines as diverse as French, Indian and African. In this blog, we investigate this hot and pungent food-stuff and discover seven marvellous facts about mustard. Along the way, you’ll learn more about its history, as well as picking up a tip or to on how to use it!

 

  1. Mustard is made from the seeds of the mustard plant, a member of the brassica family which also includes cabbages, broccoli and brussel sprouts. White, yellow, black and brown mustard seeds are harvested from three varieties of mustard plant, and prepared using different methods depending on the type of mustard being made.

 

  1.  The powerful conqueror Alexander the Great was said to have sent a sack of mustard seed to his opponent Darius, with the message “that you may taste and acknowledge the bitterness of my victory”.

 

  1. Mustard has a very low calorie count (an average of around 5 calories per teaspoon) and since you only need a little to enjoy its powerful flavour, it is a great option for anyone on a weight-loss diet who wants to add an exciting new dimension of taste to their meals.

 

  1. The word mustard is thought to have its origins in the Latin mustum ardens. Mustum means must, referring to the un-fermented grape juice that the Romans used to prepare it, and ardens meaning burning, which of course refers to the piquant flavour.

 

  1.  Mustard has long been used as a medicinal plant. For centuries, mustard plasters – a poultice of crushed mustard seeds – were prescribed as a remedy for coughs, pneumonia and chills, while mustard baths were a standard medical treatment for muscle pains, fevers and stress for centuries.  While these treatments are still used in some countries today, the risk of burns from the mustard oils means that they tend to be less popular than they once were.

 

  1. Mustard seed sprouts make an unusual and delicious addition to salads – and they are healthy too! Growing your own couldn’t be easier – simply soak a pack of mustard seeds for 12 hours then drain, rinse, and place in a large jar. Cover with a piece of muslin cloth and place in a cool, light spot. Rinse again every 8 hours or so, and within a few days, you’ll have fresh mustard sprouts, ready to use.

 

  1. Although mustard will not visibly deteriorate if stored outside the refrigerator, the volatile oils which give it its distinctive flavour can be lost. Therefore most mustard manufacturers will encourage you to keep your mustard in the fridge once opened. The exception to this is dry mustard powder, which is made up as needed, and keeps for years without losing its intensity.

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