Mustard is known since prehistoric times with a plethoria of uses.The Romans named this herb from mustus (the new wine they mixed with the seed) and ardens (for fiery).
The hot little black and brown mustard seeds are ground and mixed with water, vinegar or other liquids, and turned into a condiment also known as mustard. The seeds are also pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.
White mustard seeds are used in pickles as a strong preservative and in mayonnaise as an emulsifier.
The yellow, four petalled blooms of the plant that flower in midsummer are also edible and contain a mild mustar flavor. They can be sprinkled on sandwiches or tossed on salads.
The oval pointed dark green leaves have a pungent flavor and may be tossed in salads if young.
Cultivation of Mustard
Site: Average garden soil and plenty of sun are the minimum growing requirements. Likes sun but benefits from shade in summer to prevent bolting.
Propagation: Sow seed in the spring when the soil has warmed to 55 or 60 degrees.Plant in rows or broadcast seed over a large area. Plant every 3 weeks thoughout the year for salad greens
Growing: Thin to 6 inches for seed crops. It is not necessary to thin for salad greens. Can be grown indoors.
Harvesting: Gather seed pods before they open. Pick seed pods before they open in late summer. Cut salad leaves 8-10 days after sowing. Pick single leaves on older plants.
Culinary Uses: Black mustard seed is the powerful old-fashioned mustard that gave this condiment its illustrious start. Black mustard is difficult to harvest with modern machines because of the plant's irregular heights.
White or yellow mustard is the favored of commercial growers. The seed of yellow mustard is larger but has less pungency . It is the seed for that is used for most American brands of prepared mustard. Much of the seed used for all commercial mustards, both American and European, is grown in the USA.
Brown mustard is the hot and spicy type of mustard. It is used frequently to season Indian and Oriental cooking or mixed with yellow to make European and gourmet-type mustards.