Mustard is a condiment, which is extracted from the mustard plant seeds. This condiment can be of different colors like yellow, white, brown, or black. The seeds can be used in whole, cracked, bruised or ground forms and infused with vinegar, water or other liquids before being used for flavoring or spicing up foods. The ingredient bears a pungent, sharp flavor. Depending on the variety, the hotness of this condiment can range from 3 to 8 on a scale of 10. Some of the most popular mustard recipes include sandwich and hamburger spreads and vegetable marinade.
History of Mustard
It is believed, the Romans were the first to use this condiment. They prepared “must” by combining this condiment with unfermented grape juice and other herbs and spices. This spice mix, which later became popular as “must ard” derived from the word “mustum ardens,” was extensively used for glazing roasted boar. They exported this condiment to Gaul and soon the monks of Paris gathered the knowledge of mustard making from the Romans and started producing their own mustard recipes. In England, one of the first uses of this condiment was in the form of mustard balls, which were combined with cinnamon and flour and rolled into moistened balls and dried. These balls were soaked in vinegar and wine and converted to paste just before use in cooking. This ingredient also had a strong influence as medicine since the historical times. The ancient Greeks regarded mustard as a gift from the God of healing – Asclepious.
Culinary Uses of Mustard Recipes
Most mustard recipes are sauces, seasoning mixes and marinades. For example, whole white seeds of this ingredient are used as spice mixtures and as pickling spice in the preparation of seafood and meats. Sauerkraut is another popular marinade that uses this condiment as the key ingredient. The brown seed is mostly pounded with other spices for preparing curry pastes and powders. The use of mustard oil is very common, which is extracted by pressing the seeds and the used as cooking oil. Mustard is also used as an emulsifier in salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Popular Mustard Recipes
One of the most popular mustard recipes is the cheese and mustard bread recipe. This is a simple rye wheat yeast bread, which is stuffed with whole grain mustard and Swiss Emmenthaler cheese. The condiment features brightly in sauces and some of the best known of the lot are basic country mustard, Chinese hot mustard, creamy mustard dill sauce and creole mustard. In all these recipes, white, brown or yellow seeds of the condiment are powdered and mixed with ingredients like lemon, vinegar and other spices as per the recipe requirements to develop sauces.
Cuisines Using Mustard Recipes
In the American cuisine, mustard is a popular addition to hamburgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. Mustard recipes also come in the form of glazes, soups, sauces, dressings and marinades. In the Indian, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Asian, North American, African and North European cuisines, the ingredient is either used in its whole seed form or in the cream form. The condiment is also used as pickling spice in various cuisines of the world. In Indian cooking, the brown seeds are fried whole in the ghee until the seeds pop. This flavored ghee is then used for garnishing foods. Mustard curry powders and pastes are popularly used in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan cuisines. In the west though, the powdered form is used in flavoring barbecue sauces, meat dishes, deviled eggs, succotash, beets and baked beans. Some of the popular blended and processed mustard recipes used as ingredient in cooking include American ballpark-style mustard, Bordeaux mustard, Dijon mustard, English mustard, German mustard or Weisswurstsenf and Meaux mustard.
Preferable Cooking Methods for Mustard Recipes
For a hotter and a stronger flavor in cooking, a mixture can be prepared with dried mustard, vinegar, cold water and sugar and allowed to stand for 15 minutes before being used in cooking. Whole dark seeds impart a mild aroma and so, it is best used in canning and preserving foods. Indians often use roasted seeds in their mustard recipes. But when toasting to split open the seeds, one should take care to see that the seeds aren’t overcooked as this can make the entire food bitter in taste. In most mustard recipes, the condiment is added towards the end of the cooking process.
Nutritive Value of Mustard
Mustard is known to be an effective stomach stimulant, which can increase salivation by 8 times. It is also a renowned digestive, antiseptic, circulative stimulant and laxative. The sulphur content of mustard makes it effective against skin diseases. Poultices and plasters made of this condiment are applied on the chest to decongest lungs and clear sinuses. However, those with thyroid are advised not to eat mustard greens, which can enlarge their thyroid glands.
Mustard Buying and Storing Tips
Mustard, whole or ground, can be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place. While the whole seeds can be stored for up to a year, the powdered form stays fresh for up to 6 months. The oil is best stored in the refrigerator for preventing it from getting rancid. Unopened prepared or flavored mustard should be used within a year. Opened mustard can be stored for a month at room temperature.
Non- Food Uses of Mustard
The condiment has several medicinal properties, which makes it a popular homemade remedy for stomach problems and cough and cold.
It has been found out that America ranks first in the world in terms of the highest consumption of mustard recipes.