Great Flavors: Mustards Seeds and Condiments
Mustards seeds or "mustard" seeds, as they are sometimes called, are the tiny round seeds of different Mustard plants. The seeds are normally about 1 to 2mm in diameter and can be yellow to pale black in color. The seeds can be collected from the plant commonly known as the "rubber mustard" as well as other members of the family, collectively called the "common mustard". Mustards, mainly used in the Southern United States, are most often harvested from the state of Mississippi. The most prolific grower of mustard in the US is Papaver paeoniflorum, a slow-growing perennial found in all states of the southern US.
Mustards seeds have a pungent and somewhat spicy flavor and the name 'mustard' derives from the Latin 'morn' meaning 'to scatter.' The pungent taste is produced by the oils that are present in the Mustards seeds and it helps them float around in water. They are best harvested just after a rain storm, but can also be gathered at any time other than a storm. The seeds can be soaked to extract the oil if desired, however this results in a musty-tasting liquid which must be strained prior to use. Once the oil has been extracted, the mustard seeds can be dried to form a powder in order to use in cooking.
The mustards seeds impart a dry and salty flavor to most dishes, making them an excellent ingredient for sauteing, stir-frying and baking. You can add these seeds to a variety of dishes such as Pasta, salads, soups and broths, or for a more complete solution, try blending the seeds with dried meat, fish or poultry; however, be sure to season the dishes well so that the saltiness of the seeds is not overwhelmed by the flavor of the meat. For example, instead of using flour on pasta, try using chopped dried tomatoes or peppercorns and pasta will be excellent. You can also take these seeds and rub them onto rice or baked potatoes to add an interesting flavor. This unique addition to your favorite dishes can be used in place of butter or cream to make a simple yet delicious potato soup or as a spice for a number of meats, fish and poultry dishes.
Dried Mustard Plants is often included in pickling recipes as a marinade to add an additional flavor to vegetables or fruits. While there are hundreds of different types of vinegar, a few of the most popular varieties are described below. White distilled vinegar: Made from fermented grapes, this white vinegar is often served at barbecues and can be purchased at most grocery stores. When used in pickling recipes, it imparts a musty flavor that helps to draw out the natural nutrients in the vegetables or fruit used in the recipe.
Mustard Seed Tastes like a blend of mustard seeds and brown sugar. It imparts a sweet tangy flavour that pairs well with meats. There are no special preparations necessary to add this mixture; simply mix it into a jar of your favourite jam or salad dressings and use it to dress up your next meal. To make this more interesting, try spicing it with fresh herbs and/or lemon juice.
Mustard Greens: These dark greens are high in Vitamin A and iron. They are a good source of iron for vegetarians as well as people who follow a diet that is low in iron. Adding this spice to your next casserole will add an interesting flavor that goes well with poultry, fish, pork and beef. You can also steam these greens in coconut oil for a delicious accompaniment to any main dish. If you do not have these greens in your fridge, you can always substitute with spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli leaves or red cabbage as they all have a similar mild flavor.
Mustard Powder: For cooking purposes, it imparts a rich mustard seeds flavor that goes great with sauteed dishes like fish, chicken, sausage, pasta and stew. If you do not want to use this seasoning, you can still add a bit of it to your cooking by buying a bottle of mustard seeds extract and adding a pinch of it to your next batch of vegetable cooking. This way, you get to enjoy the rich taste of mustard seeds. You can also buy mustard seeds and add them to your salads as well.
Brown Mustard Seed Extract: Adds a nice flavor to light dishes such as veggies, soups and grains. It is also great in stews and curries. To use this seed, cut it into small pieces then blend them together with a little water until they become a smooth paste. Dump this over your steamed vegetables or mash them into a sauce. You can also dip your mustard seeds into a little liquid first then spread on top of your meat and serve with that salty, sweet and sour dressing!