Mustard, not for the faint-hearted

Mustard, not for the faint-hearted

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Botanical name: Sinapis alba Family: Brassicaceae

Mustard goes down in history as one of the first ever condiments to hit dining tables in ancient times. Interestingly enough, it was even recorded that the beloved mustard seed was taken straight to the tomb by Egyptian pharaohs. That’s right, who ever said you can’t have a little spice in the afterlife?

Romans were probably the first to experiment with the ins and outs of preparing mustard as a condiment and used unfermented grape juice and ground mustard seeds to make ‘burning must’. A recipe for mustard appears in De re coquinaria, one of the first cookbooks in the world, which was written by the culinary hedonist Apicius in the late fourth or early fifth century.

The recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, pepper, caraway, lovage, grilled coriander seeds, dill, celery, thyme, oregano, onion, honey, vinegar, fish sauce, and oil, and was intended as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.

You can find yellow mustard (sinapis alba), brown mustard (brassica juncea) and black mustard (brassica nigra). Mustard seeds can be ground to form a powder, left coarse to make a condiment or turned into a fine paste.

Yellow mustard is typically mixed with turmeric to impart a bright yellow hue, which is common to popular mustard condiments. Mustard powder can be added to all sorts of savory dishes like potato and chicken salads, casseroles, meats, marinades, dips and more.

If you really like it spicy, then many deli brown mustards also pack on the horseradish, which one can argue is even spicier than than the mustard itself. Mustard is also the perfect complement to honey and is a favorite for fresh pretzels and crunchy snacks, not to mention a perfect roast chicken.

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