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Averaging 150 cm in height, the mustard plant has clusters of small yellow flowers with four petals and leaves that are toothed and almost lobbed. The flowers taste of a cross between honey and horseradish. The greens develop a more pungent peppery note as the plant matures. Seeds collected from mature seed pods are mildest from the white variety and hottest from the brown.
Mustard is an annual herb yielding seeds within 60 days of germination. It may be found year-round, but thrives during spring.
Mustard, or Brassica, has many varieties and is in the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips, kale and kohlrabi. Seeds, leaves, roots and flowers all have edible applications. Mustard may also be pressed for oil or grown as "green manure" due to its rich nitrogen content. Some pests are even repelled by mustard due to its extreme heat. When eaten, the mustard plant can stimulate appetite, aid digestion, or even act as a decongestant.
Mustard has trace amounts of vegetable oils but is a cholesterol free food. It is 25% protein and rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin B.
The mustard plant is entirely edible in all stages of its growth. Shoots and young leaves are delicious raw added into salads, while more mature greens are often stewed or braised with ham or other smoked meats. The fresh flowers offer beautiful color and both a sweet and spicy note to dishes. Seeds are pickled, dried, crushed, or mixed with vinegar and other flavors for condiments. White seeds are best for "ballpark yellow" mustard, while the brown variety offers the best greens for sautéing or stewing.
Black mustard seeds are prevalent in West Indian dishes often fried until they pop giving off a moderately spicy flavor. The French are the world's number one mustard consumer and also known for their most famous of mustard producing regions, Dijon. Brown mustard seeds produce the hottest Chinese mustards and pungent Indian curries.
Mustard is one of the earliest domesticated crops dating back to 2000 b.c.e. The condiment as we know it was first made around 1300 when crushed seeds were mixed with unfermented grape juice, or "mustum" in Latin. Originating across Asia, Europe and Northern Africa, mustard plant is now propagated world wide, Canada being the number one producer.
Recipes that include Wild Mustard. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Ciao Chow Linda||Spaghetti With Winter Cress (Mustard Greens)|
|SergeiBoutenko.com||Sauted Wild Greens (Asian Style)|
|Hunter Angler Gardener Cook||Baisc Country Mustard|
|French Foodie Baby||Asparagus, Arugula, Avocado Soup with Wild Mustard Flowers|