Thanks to their sulfur compounds, mustard seeds have an intense spicy flavor, help attract heat and prevent cancer and other degenerative diseases.
Mustard is a spice with a long culinary tradition. It was cultivated throughout the Eurasian continent since Prehistory and is known to have been part of the menus of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
Precisely its name comes from the Latin mostum ardens, or burning must, in reference to its spicy flavor and its elaboration with must. Its use became widespread in medieval times, thanks to its easy cultivation and its ability to preserve food.
Mustard is an annual plant, almost one meter long and with yellow flowers.
There are three varieties: black mustard (Brassica nigra), with dark or reddish seeds, rounded and pronounced flavor; white mustard (Sinapi’s alba), with yellow seeds, softer; and brown mustard (Brassica juncea), of oriental origin, which is used in dishes of Indian and Japanese cuisine.
Its most characteristic elements and the cause of its spicy flavor are sin Albina or synagrine, depending on the white or black variety. These are sulfur-rich compounds with protective action against degenerative diseases and cancer.
They are similar to those found in other plants of the cruciferous botanical family, such as cabbages and radishes.
HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE IT IN THE KITCHEN
- Including mustard sprouts in salads is a simple way to add flavor.
- Mustard is a relative of watercress and has a similar but more concentrated flavor. It is enough to moisten the seeds for a few days so that they sprout.
- In the kitchen, English varieties are usually used, which are softer and are presented in powder form with different proportions of ground black and white mustard, sometimes with flour and spices or with aromatic herbs.
- Each cook dissolves them in vinegar, must, wine or water to make their recipes.
- They are ideal to mix with other sauces such as mayonnaise, became or vinaigrette because they provide elements that help bind them.
- They are included in vegetable dishes, especially from your own family, such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts…
- It is also a good ingredient to make fermented cabbage and pickles as well as in recipes with egg, cheese or fish.
- In some areas of America, the leaf is eaten boiled or raw if it is tender. This “mustard green” brings a strong, spicy and bitter taste.
- In India and Bangladesh, it is cooked with the oil of its oilseeds.
The seeds contain 10% protein and 35% fat rich in linoleic and linolenic essential fatty acids.
When used in sauce this proportion is diluted, but it continues to be interesting, as well as its rich contribution of iron, iodine, calcium, fluoride and magnesium.
Despite this, this nutritional content is insignificant because it is taken as a condiment in small quantities.
Prized for its strong, pungent and spicy taste, mustard stimulates the taste buds and whets the appetite.
Interestingly, the seeds do not sting when dry, because their enzymes are only activated when they come into contact with a liquid, be it water, wort or liquor.
In this way, its glycosides are broken down and its volatile substances of such characteristic flavor are spread. Vinegar is also used, because acetic acid stabilizes the process and the taste of mustard is maintained for longer.
In the market you can enjoy a wide range of mustards and with many nuances according to their preparation, as there are countless varieties and recipes.
The most recognized are the French sauce preparations, which for centuries have been made by crushing the grains and making a cream with must or wine and vinegar, salt, spices and aromatic herbs.
The most popular, that of Dijon, has the particularity that it is always made with black mustard ground to the stone and husked, dissolved in vinegar and unripe grape must (the agraz), which gives it an unmistakable acid touch.
The Meaux, called “a l’ancienne”, is prepared with partially ground grains and maintaining their shell; that of Beaujolais, with wine of this denomination and blueberries; and that of Bordeaux is softer because it is made with the white variety, with its shell, sugar and tarragon.
There are also fennel, honey, champagne and red, which is made with chilies. All of them are suitable to take to the table.
German mustards are similar, but richer in herbs and spices. Among them stands out the one from Düsseldorf, made with the black variety, with an intense flavor; and that of Bavaria, softer, with white seeds, honey and fine herbs.
On the other hand, American sauces, with a milder flavor and yellow color, are made only with white mustard.
MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE IN SALAD
INGREDIENTS (FOR 4 PEOPLE):
- 400 g fresh spring onion
- 2 large red cabbage leaves
- 2 white celery sticks
- 2 salad tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
For the vinaigrette sauce:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
- Chopped chervil
- sea salt
PREPARATION (15′ + 10′ COOKING):
- While boiling plenty of salted water, cut the spring onions into half-moons, the sliced tomatoes and the celery and cabbage into long, thin strips.
- Cook the onion for about two minutes in the boiling water. Then brown it in a pan with oil and sugar to caramelize it, let cool and mix with celery.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing oil, salt, vinegar and mustard, beating them until you get a creamy sauce, to which the chopped egg and chervil are added.
- Assemble the dish by placing the tomato base and on it the onion, celery and cabbage. Season the salad with the vinaigrette.
- Calories: 159
- Carbohydrates: 10 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Fat: 11 g
- Cholesterol: 52 mg
MUSTARD PAIN-RELIEVING PROPERTIES
- Black mustard exerts a rubefacient action: it attracts blood to the affected area providing heat. Synapisms (mustard poultices) are very useful in various pains and lung conditions.
- The poultice is prepared by mixing 200 g of flax flour and warm water in a non-aluminum casserole until a thick paste is obtained. Then spread this on gauze, sprinkle with mustard flour, wrap and apply on the affected area for a maximum of 10 minutes, renewing it when it cools.
- It is essential to pay attention to the temperature: mustard is only effective when applied warm or at a temperature below 40 ºC.