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Volume 1, Issue 1

Lea d S tor y He adl ine

Uses For Mustard · Medicinal · Culinary · Types Of Mustard

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The mustards are equally at home in the kitchen and sickroom. They contain no poisonous parts, but the powdered seeds and the oil can be irritating if misused.

Medicinal Use

oil ­ the strong smelling, hottasting (and feeling) stuff we associate with the herb. Left on the skin too long, it will eventually cause blisters. For this reason, the pure powder or oil should never be applied directly to the skin. Instead, put the mustard plaster on a sheet of paper or cloth, and place the sheet on the skin. Remove the poultice as soon as it becomes uncomfortable. Wash the skin thoroughly to be sure no mustard paste remains. Never apply a poultice to very sensitive areas of the body. Some herbalists suggest rubbing castor oil or olive oil on sensitive skin before applying the plaster. You can also tone down the mustard by mixing it with rye flour before adding water, or by using egg white instead of water to prepare the paste.

Culinary Use

Use whole white (or yellow) mustard seeds in making pickles or chutney. This species is the sort used to prepare the familiar bright yellow hotdog mustard, as well as the English and German types. Brown mustard goes into the French types. Black mustard seed is often used for mustard powder as well as prepared mustard, and the seeds are fired until they pop in making many Indian dishes. Mustard oil is used in Indian cooking to impart a distinctive flavour.

The mustard plaster is a timehonoured cure for the congested chest. It causes the skin to feel warm and opens the lungs to make breathing easier. The same plaster, made from the powdered seeds of black mustard or the milder species, has also been used to relieve arthritis, rheumatism, toothache, and other causes of soreness or stiffness.

A mustard plaster feels warm because of several active ingredients in the seeds. Most important are the gycoside sinalbin and the enzyme myrosin. When the powdered seeds are mixed with water, these react to form the essential

The ingredients that make mustard effective externally also make it an appetite stimulant and a powerful internal irritant. In very small doses, mustard does stimulate the mucous membrane of the stomach and increase the secretions of the pancreas, thereby improving digestion. Larger doses of whole mustard seed will induce vomiting. The seeds' content of oil and fat make them a good laxative. Because of the risk of overdose, remedies made with this herb should be handled with special care. Over a prolonged period, large doses of black mustard could irritate the stomach and intestines.

The young leaves of black and white mustards are vitamin rich and tangy. However, most gardeners grow other species for greens such as brown mustard, B juncea. The young leaves are boiled with onions and salt pork in much of the South. Southerners use hot, buttered cornbread to sop up the "pot likker" from the greens.

The leaves of B. japonica are an important ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. There are many different varieties to choose from. Stir-fry or steam them as an accompaniment for bland meats and fish.

Mustard Varieties Prepared mustards usually consist of a combination of any variety of mustard seeds with vinegar or wine as a acidic fixative, plus salt and various spices, depending on the blend. Prepared mustard generally has about one-third to one-half the strength of dry mustard. There are hundreds of varieties of prepared mustards, including many specialty blends which include a fruit, herb, or spice base. Here are some of the more popular types: Dijon Mustard: This variety was the first to be regulated. It originates in Dijon, France, and is made with brown and/or black seeds, seasonings, and verjuice (juice of unripened grapes), white wine, wine vinegar or a combination of all three.

German Mustard: Mild to hot, spicy and mildly sweet. It can range from smooth to coarseground, pale yellow to brown in colour. English Mustard: Made from both white and brown or black seeds, flour, and turmeric. Usually bright yellow in colour with an extremely hot spiciness to the tongue. Chinese Mustard: Normally served as a dipping sauce with Chinese foods. Made from mustard powder and water or wine mixed to a paste. There's nothing fancy about it, making it easy to prepare at home. Be sure to let homemade Chinese mustard rest about 15 minutes for flavour and heat level to develop fully, but no longer as it rapidly loses both within about an hour. Sweet Mustard: Includes a variety of honey mustards. These are mustards sweetened with honey, syrup, or sugar, and can begin with a base of hot or mild mustard seeds depending on personal tastes.

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American Mustard: Also called ballpark mustard or yellow mustard due to its bright colour, this mildest-flavoured mustard is popular at ball parks as a favoured condiment for hot dogs. It is made with white mustard seeds mixed with salt, spices and vinegar, usually with turmeric added to enhance the bright colour. This style was first manufactured in 1904 by George T. French as "Cream Salad Mustard," and has become the standard for yellow mustard in America.

Flavoured Mustard: The addition of various individual herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits result in such mustards as horseradish, chilli, lemon, raspberry and even blueberry flavoured mustards. There are literally hundreds to choose from and make, limited only by your imagination.

Pale tan to yellow in colour and usually smooth in texture. If it is labelled Dijon-style, it is most likely made in the same manner but it is not from Dijon, France. Bordeaux Mustard: Made with grape must (unfermented wine grape juice), usually pale yellow in colour. Beaujolais Mustard: Similar to Bordeaux, but made with different grapes lending a deep burgundy colour. Creole Mustard: Brown mustard seeds are marinated in vinegar, ground and mixed with a hint of horseradish into a hot, spicy mustard. Meaux Mustard: Also called whole-grain mustard. Roughly crushed, multi-coloured mustard seeds mixed with vinegar and spices.

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