Why is Mustard Seed so Popular in the United States?

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Who knew mustard seed was so popular in America! In this guide, you will find out all about the mustard seed plant and different types of prepared mustard. Also discover some incredible other uses for mustard and it’s amazing healing home remedies.

whole mustard seeds in a jar on wood table
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Parable of the Mustard Seed

Jesus often spoke to his disciples in parables, as seen in the New Testament. In the “Parable of the Mustard Seed,” Jesus relates the small size of a mustard seed to the humble beginnings of God’s church. 

It’s prolific growth in this passage symbolizes the spreading of the gospel of Christ and the rapid expansion of the kingdom of God (source)

The idea is that the mustard seed may not seem like much when it is planted, but can become far greater than can be imagined. This is true about the mustard seed when it comes to food as well.

mustard plant field

Mustard Plants

Though mustard seeds are small,  mustard plants can grow up to 20 feet tall (source).The first mustard plant was grown in 3000 BC in India (source). Mustard comes from the cabbage family and has many types (source).  

The most commonly known types are yellow mustard (Sinapis alba), brown mustard (Brassica juncea), and black mustard (Brassica nigra) (source). Yellow mustard seeds are also called white mustard seeds. White mustard seeds are larger than brown and black mustard seeds (source)

Wild mustard comes from the wild mustard plant (Sinapis arvensis) (source). To farmers, the plant can be a menace because it grows abundantly and makes cows ill (source). Wild mustard appears to be hairier than other mustard plants, thus easy to identify.

Mustard plants are low maintenance and thrive under a myriad of soil and climate conditions (source).

mustard seeds and mustard flower on wooden table

Mustard Flower

Mustard plants bloom yellow flowers between June and July (source). The flowers are safe to eat and make an excellent substitute for saffron (source).

Mustard Uses

Vegetable

The immature leaves of the mustard plant are put in salads, soups, and stews. These are known as mustard greens and have a radish-like taste (source)

Flavoring

Using mustard goes beyond the wavy pattern on a ballpark hotdog. In Indian cuisine, mustard seeds are cooked in curries, ghee, and sauces in their whole form for flavor (source). Mustard seed sprouts are used in Chinese recipes (source).

We commonly know dry mustard powder as ground mustard. Ground mustard comes from the grinding of mustard seeds into a fine powder (source). It serves to be a versatile spice, having uses in dry rubs, salad dressings, and creamy sauces alike (source). You can also use dry mustard powder to make prepared yellow mustard.

heaping spoon full of ground dry mustard

Biofumigant

Mustard is used as a biofumigant in planting. This means mustard plants improve soil by reducing weeds, pests, and fungi (source).  

Repellent 

Does your dog or cat scratch or chew your chair legs? Mustard can be a natural help. Mustard oil has been used as a pet repellent (source).

Different Types of Mustard

No one in the world eats more mustard than Americans do. On average, each person consumes 12 ounces of mustard every year (source). Mustard comes from the seeds of the mustard plant. Prepared mustard is made from crushed mustard seeds, vinegar, water, and other flavoring ingredients (source).

Yellow mustard may be the most commonly used mustard in the United States today. This common condiment actually gets its bright yellow pigment from turmeric (source).

different types of mustard on a wooden table

Whole Grain Mustard

Your traditional yellow mustard gets its smooth texture from the grinding up of mustard seeds. Whole grain mustard comes from whole seeds so its texture is quite grainy (source). This condiment is surprisingly mild in flavor since the seeds are left intact. It’s the grinding of the seeds that release the pungent flavor of other mustards (source).

Wild Mustard

Wild mustard seeds can be made into condiments. Its young leaves are put into salads and its flowers are edible too (source)

German Mustard

German mustard is called mostrich in Germany (source).   Black mustard seeds (Brassica nigra) and white mustard seeds (Sinapis alba or Sinapis hirta) are prepared to make this condiment. 

The texture ranges from coarse to smooth depending on if mustard seeds are crushed or left intact. The mustard seeds are mixed with vinegar, herbs, spices, and sometimes sweeteners (source)

A recipe for German mustard can yield colors from light yellow to brown (source). Traditional german salad dressings and pork chops use German mustard (source).

Jalapeno Mustard

Jalapeno mustard is as spicy as it sounds. It’s made by blending jalapenos and mustard with other spices and flavorings.

Dijon Mustard

In traditional recipes, vinegar moistens crushed mustard seeds (source). In 1856, Jean Naigeon replaced the vinegar with a particular grape juice (source). He successfully made Dijon mustard and named it after the French town.

spoon in a jar of mustard graphic

Nutritional Benefits of Mustard

Low calorie

Mustard is naturally low in calories and an excellent flavoring agent if you want to maintain or lose weight.

Vitamins and Minerals

Mustard seeds have more nutrients than you may think. You can find high levels of selenium, folate, and B vitamins (source). Zinc, iron, and calcium exist in trace amounts (source).

Antioxidants

Lutein, carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamins C and K are antioxidants found in mustard (source).

Plant Sterols

Mustard also has plant sterols called stigmasterol and campesterol.  Plant sterols are infamous for promoting lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol (source).

whole grain mustard in a jar

Medicinal Benefits of Mustard

Mustard plaster is a combination of ground mustard, flour, and egg white or water (source).

Modern herbalists promote mustard plaster as a pain remedy for arthritic and muscle pain (source). It is also thought to fight the common cold and flu (source). Toothache and poor blood circulation were ailments that Ancient Greeks used mustard to remedy (source)

Mustard for Heartburn

Are you looking for a home remedy for heartburn? Mustard neutralizes the stomach acid thanks to its vinegar and alkaline contents (source). You can take a teaspoon of it to see if it helps.

Mustard for Bee Stings

Mustard can be used as a home remedy for bee stings when applied topically (source).

Diet and Mustard Recipes

Is Mustard Keto?

Yes, mustard is very low in carbohydrates and is keto friendly. Keep in mind that honey mustard has more carbohydrates than regular mustard. Always check the nutrition facts label for added sugars. 

Is Mustard Gluten-Free?

Mustard comes from seeds and is naturally gluten-free. Typically, prepared mustard is made with vinegar, which is not always gluten-free. Malt vinegar is a gluten-containing vinegar.

English mustard is a type of mustard made with wheat flour, which would not be considered gluten-free.

French’s, Boar’s Head, and Annie’s are all gluten-free mustard brands. Make sure the mustard you are looking to purchase has a gluten-free label. You can also make gluten-free mustard at home.

Homemade Mustard Recipes

Bottom Line

There are many varieties of mustard that come from the mustard plant.

This versatile seed can add a one of a kind flavor to your cooking and a lot of nutrition to your body. Mustard may come from a tiny seed, but it has the potential to yield significant benefits to your life. For more interesting single ingredients, read our post on Konjac.

mustard seeds in a wooden spoon

Author

  • Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She has a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa enjoys helping clients in her private practice.

  • Gabrielle McPherson is a Registered Dietitian and Freelance Writer. Gabrielle has a masters degree in Clinical Nutrition and a bachelors degree in Dietetics. She has worked extensively with pediatrics and works as a freelance health and nutrition writer.

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