Organic Yellow Mustard Seed
Our Organic Yellow Mustard Seed is botanically called Brassica alba (also sometimes identified as Sinapis alba or Brassica hirta).
Yellow mustard is a flowering plant and 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·nates). This chemical is the plant's defense system against grazing animals and when chewed releases these burning chemicals. The isothiocyanates lay dormant in the plant and are only released when the plant is disturbed.
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 (also called white) 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.
Mustard plants grow in the wild, and food historians believe they were first cultivated around 3,000 BC.
Like many spices, mustard has a colorful history. Legend has it that the Persian King Darius III (381-330 BC) was presented a sack of sesame seeds from his arch rival Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) that signified the size of his army. King Darius in turn sent 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) was the Roman Empire's army and navy commander as well as an author. He penned a recipe describing the creation of one of the first condiments ever recorded 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 the 5th and 8th century AD, the Romans introduced mustard seeds to the Gauls (Gaul was a region of Western Europe that was inhabited by Celtic tribes and these people were referred to as Gauls). Monks, in what is now modern day France, planted mustard seeds in the grape vineyards and would mix the ground mustard seeds with unfermented wine, known as "must". The word mustard is derived from the Latin phrase "mustum ardens" which roughly translates to "burning wine".
In the 9th century, French monasteries were making increasing amounts of mustard for local consumption. Pope John XXII (the Pope from 1316 until his death in 1334) was such an aficionado of mustard that he created the post of "Grand Moutardier du Pape" which translates to "Grand Mustard Maker to the Pope".
In the late 1700s, Maurice Grey and Antoine Poupon, two men living in Dijon, France, created a company backed by Poupon's money and using Grey's mustard recipe. Their original store still stands in downtown Dijon.
The House of Maille began producing mustard and vinegars in 1747 in Paris. Ben Franklin, who 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, the availability of mustard seed in the US ground to a halt. Because of that, industrious farmers started growing it in America, and it is now 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. In the 1960s, the Upper Midwest began harvesting various types of mustard, and today North Dakota has the largest share of domestic production.
Mustard is an annual herb with seedlings that emerge rapidly, but then mature slowly. With ideal moisture and temperature conditions, mustard plants cover the ground in 4 to 5 weeks. Under drier conditions, the tap roots will grow 5 ft into the soil to efficiently locate stored soil moisture. At maturity, plant height reaches 30" to 45" depending on type, variety, and environmental conditions. Brown mustard typically matures in 90 to 95 days, while white mustard takes 80 to 85 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.
Major commercial producers of mustard seeds include Canada, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine, China and the US.
Our Organic Yellow Mustard Seed is cultivated in India.
If you are looking to make your own mustard, it is important to know that the temperature of the liquid used when mixing is critical. For maximum heat, blend it with a very cold liquid, for a milder mustard flavor blend the powder with a hot liquid. And don't forget to take into consideration which heat level of mustard powder you start with. One more helpful hint is that refrigerating once you have achieved your desired heat level will bring the mellowing process to almost a complete and 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 add to a small bowl. Add enough water, wine or vinegar to cover the powder (we like to use 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 mint, ginger, pepper, smoked paprika, garlic, turmeric and tarragon. 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 every couple days until the desired heat level is achieved. Once it has reached maximum flavor, store it in the refrigerator. It will typically last several months in the fridge.
We get many questions about 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.
Whole organic yellow mustard seeds have no noticeable aroma, but once ground they are a bit pungent. Cooking releases an acrid, earthy aroma.
We love using ground mustard in deviled eggs, bean, cheese, ham and pork dishes, in cocktail and barbeque sauces, and in soups or chowders.
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.
In England, cooks use mustard with ham and roast beef, In the Caribbean, it is 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.
Mustard works well when paired with bay leaf, chili, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, honey, nigella, parsley, pepper, tarragon and turmeric.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*