Organic Ground Yellow Mustard
Organic Yellow Mustard Seed (also called White Mustard Seed) is botanically called Brassica alba (also sometimes identified as Sinapis alba or Brassica hirta) from the family Brassicaceae. Other members of this family include black mustard, brown mustard, horseradish and wasabi. This group shares hot and pungent chemicals known as isothiocyanates (pronounced iso·thio·cy·a·nate). This chemical is the plant's defense system against grazing animals that, when chewed, releases these burning chemicals. The isothiocyanates lay dormant in the plant and are only released when the plant is disturbed.
Yellow Mustard is also known as moutarde blanche (French), weisser senf (German), senape biancha (Italian) and mostaza silvestre (Spanish).
There are more than 40 varieties of mustard plants, but the culinary seeds come from primarily three plants – black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and white mustard. The difference between them is more one of potency than of flavor. When ground, mustard seeds release a pungent smell, and roasting them gives them an earthy aroma. Black seeds have a strong flavor, brown seeds are a bit bitter, then turning hot and aromatic, and yellow seeds are at first a bit sweet.
Yellow mustard seeds are indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean region, brown mustard seeds are native to the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains and black mustard seeds hail from the Middle East.
Like many spices, Mustard has a colorful history. Food historians believe that mustard seeds were first cultivated around 3,000 BC. Legend has it that Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) sent his bitter enemy King Darius III (381–330 BC) of Persia a sack of sesame seeds to signify the great size of his army. King Darius responded by sending back a sack of mustard seeds to show, not only the size, but also the feistiness of his army.
Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), a Roman military officer and writer authored the "Natural History", widely considered the first encyclopedia, covering a wide range of subjects and spanning over 37 books. He is also credited with creating a written recipe describing the creation of one of the first condiments that had crushed mustard seeds mixed in vinegar. Early Romans were also known to have occasionally used mustard seeds to add flavor to food by crushing the seeds on their plates (in much the same manner that freshly cracked pepper is used today).
Between 400-700 AD, the Romans introduced mustard seeds to the Gauls (Gaul was a region of Western Europe that was inhabited by Celtic tribes). Monks, in what is now modern day France, planted mustard seeds in the grape vineyards and they made "must", which was a mixture of ground mustard seeds and unfermented wine. The word mustard is derived from the Latin phrase "mustum ardens" which roughly translates to "burning wine".
By the 800s AD, French monasteries were producing large volumes of mustard for local consumption. Pope John XXII (the Pope from 1316-1334) was such a lover of mustard that he created the position of "Grand Moutardier du Pape" which means "Grand Mustard Maker to the Pope".
In the late 18th century, two men living in Dijon, France, Maurice Grey and Antoine Poupon, created a company using Grey's mustard recipe and financed by Poupon's money. Their original store still stands in downtown Dijon.
The House of Maille began producing mustard and vinegars in 1747 in Paris and is still making these products today. Ben Franklin, when he was the ambassador to France, is said to have brought some of their mustard to America when he returned in 1758.
During World War II (1939-1945), the United States was unable to import mustard. This shortage of mustard led resourceful farmers to begin cultivating mustard seed in America, and today this is considered a major specialty crop in North America. During the 1950s, California and Montana were the major production areas of mustard seeds in the US. By the 1960s, the Upper Midwest began harvesting various types of mustard, and today North Dakota is the leading producer of domestic mustard.
An annual herb with seedlings that emerge rapidly, the mustard plant matures slowly. In ideal growing conditions, mustard plants cover the ground in 4-5 weeks. During drier conditions, the tap roots will grow down as far as 5' into the soil efficiently finding stored soil moisture. Once fully grown the plant will be 30" to 45" tall (depending on type, variety, and environmental conditions). White Mustard typically matures in 80 to 85 days, while Brown Mustard takes 90 to 95 days. Mustard is harvested by cutting the stems when the seeds are fully developed but not quite ripe, to avoid the pods busting open and releasing their contents. Each mustard plant produces about 20-40 small pods each, and each pod holds about 6 seeds.
Major commercial producers of mustard seeds include Canada, China and India but mustard seeds are also grown in Nepal, Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine and the US.
Our Organic Yellow Mustard Seed is cultivated in India.
If you are looking to make your own mustard it is critical to understand how the temperature of the liquid used will greatly influence the final product. For maximum heat, you'll want to use a very cold liquid, for a milder mustard you'll want to use a hot liquid. And don't forget to take into consideration the potency of the mustard powder (yellow, brown or black) you start with. Another important point is that once you reach your ideal heat level refrigerating your mustard will bring the mellowing process to almost immediate halt.
Making your own prepared mustard is easy. Grind your mustard seeds in a coffee grinder (we prefer to have one coffee grinder dedicated to only grinding spices) and then pour the mustard powder into a bowl. Add enough vinegar, wine or water to completely cover the powder (our rule of thumb is about ¼ cup of ground mustard to 3 tablespoons of liquid). Let sit for about 20 minutes and then add in other spices and herbs and mix into a smooth paste. You may need to add a bit more liquid depending on how much additional seasoning you add.
Some of our favorite spices and herbs to use in making homemade mustard are garlic, ginger, mint, smoked paprika, pepper, tarragon and turmeric. Experiment and develop your own unique flavor.
Here's a simple recipe to make your own whole grain mustard – 1/3 cup whole yellow mustard seeds, ¼ cup dry ground mustard, ½ cup cold water, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 tablespoons honey (or ¼ cup granulated honey). Mix thoroughly, transfer to a jar, close tightly and place on your counter for several days to "cure". Check your mustard ever day or so until the desired heat level is achieved. Once it has reached the ideal flavor and heat level store it in the refrigerator. It will typically last several months in the fridge.
We get many questions on mustard seeds. A dry mustard is when the mustard seed is ground up (also called ground mustard or mustard powder). A "prepared mustard" or "made mustard" is dry mustard that is mixed with spices and herbs and then a liquid is added such as beer, water, wine or vinegar. A whole grain mustard is the whole mustard seed that is mixed with spices, herbs and then a liquid.
There is often some confusion between yellow mustard seeds and white mustard seeds. Yellow and white mustard seeds are the same thing. In fact these seeds are mostly a light tan in color and not yellow or white.
Whole Organic Ground Yellow Mustard have a sharp flavor but the flavor hits quickly and then just as quickly dissipates leaving little after-taste.
Yellow Mustard Seeds has no noticeable aroma but once ground, they are a bit pungent. Cooking releases an acrid, earthy aroma.
In England, cooks use mustard with ham and roast beef, In the Caribbean it's an ingredient in sauces for fruit, and in India the nutty flavor of the mustard seed is intensified by cooking in hot oil before adding it to chutneys, curries and sauces. Mustard seeds are also popular in pickling spices.
Use ground mustard in bean, cheese, ham and pork dishes, chowders, cocktail sauce, deviled eggs, barbecue sauces and in soups.
Ground and whole mustard seed adds flavor to sauces (hollandaise sauce in particular), dressings, and mayonnaise as well as grilled and roasted beef, cabbage, strong cheeses, chicken, curries, dals, fish, and seafood, cold meats, rabbit, sausages and barbecue rubs.
Mustard works well when paired with bay, chili, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, honey, nigella, parsley, pepper, tarragon and turmeric.
Some of our favorite recipes using mustard are – German Style Mustard and Red Lentil Soup with Vadouvan.
** This product is certified kosher.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*