Mustard is one of the oldest and most important condiments in the world after salt and pepper. It originated from early Romans who used to call mustard ‘mustumardeus’ (hot must), a mixture of grounded mustard seeds with an old wine or fermented grape juice. Today, in the English era, the name was shortened to mustard, but the taste remains the same but with a lot more variety.
When mixed with different kinds of liquids, Mustard seeds can be used in a number of ways. When crushed, raw mustard seeds produce a burning sensation in your nose, which helps fight against insects and bacteria. When mixed with wine and other liquids, the same crushed seeds take the form of tantalizing, creamy condiments that enhance the flavor of your food.
During the excavations of Indus Valley, Archaeologists discovered that mustard had been cultivated and used there; this evidence is proof that mustard has been around since way before 1850 BCE. Romans were probably the first to use it as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice, also known as “Must,” with ground mustard seeds to make “Mustum Ardens.” Later, Known as “Mustard.”
Mustard as a condiment first appeared in an anonymously written roman cookbook which is thought to be written in the late first century. The recipe uses a paste of ground mustard, pepper, caraway, lovage, grilled coriander seeds, celery, dill, thyme, onion, honey, vinegar, oregano, fish sauce mixed with oil as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.
While the earliest use of mustard as a condiment in England is proven to be the year 1390 in the book The Forme of Cury, written by King Richard the Second’s Head Cook. It had been used to prepare mustard balls in which ground mustard seeds combined with flour and cinnamon were put into water and then rolled into balls and dried. They were stored and combined with vinegar or wine to make a mustard paste as needed.
The town of Tweskesbury was so famous for its high-quality mustard balls, which were produced by a mixture of ground mustard and horseradish and dried for storage. Then they were exported all over the country and even mentioned in the play King Henry the Fourth, Part II by William Shakespeare.
The first use of mustard as a hot dog condiment was found in the USA in St. Louis, Missouri, at St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 after French’s Mustard was first introduced by the R.T French Company.
Interesting Facts about Mustard
- Every year, more than 700 million pounds of mustard is consumed, and the most consumed mustard in the world is American Mustard
- The world celebrates National Mustard Day and a Mustard Festival in August every year.
- India and Denmark use mustard to keep away the evil spirits in the homes
- The Mount Horeb Mustard Museum in Wisconsin exhibits 5,000 jars of mustard from 60 countries and 50 states.
- Mustard is also used all around the world to cure toothache, hair fall and improve blood circulation
- The French monarch loved mustard and would never travel without his mustard pot to satisfy his taste.
- More than half of the mustard production for the world comes from Nepal and Canada.
Types of Mustard
All mustard seeds contain a distinctive level of heat naturally. Brown and black seeds are high intensity and have an over-powering taste, while the yellow ones are mild in flavor and aroma. The hotness and flavor of mustard are also deepened or controlled by using the right type and quantity of liquid. Mixing acidic liquids to mustard seeds not only lessen the heat and give less of a burning effect but tend to be more lasting. However, mustard made with pure water has a sharp taste that diminishes with time.
Mustard comes in different forms to make a variety of condiments which as are mentioned below:
1. Yellow Mustard
Mustard is yellow is a common myth. Mustard is also available in deep brown colors seeds, and most of the time, the yellow color you find in the traditional mustard sauce comes from turmeric that is added to the sauce as a spice.
The golden American mustard is a combination of water, vinegar, finely grounded yellow mustard seeds, and turmeric. The perfect most natural yellow mustard sauce doesn’t have a sharp aroma but a strong flavor of mustard seeds. It is creamy in texture and is used widely on hotdogs, salads, soups, and sauces.
2. Spicy Brown Mustard
As the name explains, spicy brown mustard comprises brown mustard seeds and very little vinegar. Brown Mustard Seeds have a sharp taste and are less acidic in nature. With a signature pungent smell, these brown seeds are very hard to break; therefore, you will see the texture of this sauce slightly grainier than other mustards. In most places, spicy mustard sauce is also termed Deli Mustard and is used to enhance the flavor of the meat. Brown mustard sauce is also mixed with nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger to make meals more exciting.
3. Dijon Mustard
This recipe of mustard was initiated by Jean Naigeon from Dijon, France. The original recipe comprises brown mustard seeds and verjuice- a juice that is acidic in nature and made with unripe grapes. Since mustard is already intensely heated, the use of verjuice gives it a signature pungent flavor. You will find Dijon mustard widely used in mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, and other dipping sauces
4. Honey Mustard
This type of mustard needs no introduction. An equal combination of honey and mustard translates the intensified bitter flavor of mustard into a mild and sweet taste. Honey Mustard Sauce is an excellent dipping sauce and is very easy to digest. It’s used in savory dishes like steak and wings as a marinade and a sweet dressing on salads. Because of its unique and mild perception, Honey Mustard is one of the favorites amongst adults and children.
5. Hot Mustard
Mustard is naturally hot and usually mixed with hot water or acid. Hot mustard, however, is a strange combination of brown or black mustard seeds, finely ground, mixed, and beat with cold water until it intensifies and gradually turns into a smooth texture. Being naturally high in intensity, you can’t tame down its intensity, but you can reduce the hotness of this sauce by adding vinegar to it or simply refrigerating it.
Hot mustard is very easy to make at home, but the store-bought hot mustard sauces have a strong flavor compared to the homemade ones.
6. Whole Grain Mustard
What makes whole grain mustard different from other types is its thick, granular texture. Unlike other mustard sauces, whole grain is made from brown or black mustard seeds grounded halfway to keep the roughness of the seeds intact. Instead of vinegar, wine is used, which is a flavor booster. Whole grain mustard is used with cheeses in salads and sandwiches.
7. German Mustard
Germans have a taste for mustard, and they use mustard in all forms and flavors. They have a creative sense of pairing mustard with ingredients, spices, and sauces to make their meals exciting, sweet and unique.
Germany knows how to make mustard more useful and versatile. The most common and famous mustard is Mittelscharf, a blend of yellow and brown mustard seeds, which is a medium-hot version of Dijon mustard. As you move towards Dusseldorf, the mustard is flavored with more brown mustard seeds, spices, and less acid. When traveling towards Bavaria, the same mustard becomes much sweeter with honey, brown sugar, and applesauce.
8. Beer and Spirit Mustard
Originated from the Midwestern United States, this type of mustard replaces beer with vinegar or wine. The flavor and intensity of this mustard are also very much dependent on the flavor of the beer used. Additionally, spirit such as whiskey and bourbons diluted in vinegar is also used in mustard to make spirit mustard. This type is stronger than other mustards and much more flavorful. Although beer and spirit mustards are used on burgers and sandwiches, their best taste comes when served as a dipping sauce.
9. English Mustard
We can’t complete our article without discussing English mustard. Close to hot mustard, the most famous English Mustard is Colman’s English Mustard sauce that uses both yellow and mustard seeds. English mustard is the most widely used and accepted in powder form. Just add cold water before using it to give a punch to your meals.
Mustard is very easy to make at home, and there are many brands available in stores that give you the same variety and taste. It is said that mustard is best in its taste and benefits when you use it with its natural heat and flavor. Frequent opening and closing of the bottle, too much refrigeration, and overstocking make it lose its pungency. Therefore, choose a later expiry date and stock as per your need. And be sure to be adventuresome and try some of the different flavors and types of mustard.