Mustard Seed Types

Three out of forty types of mustard seeds are used for food

Mustard seeds and mustard powder, close-up
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Mustard is the second most-used spice in the United States. Its usage is only exceeded by the peppercorn. All parts of the plant are edible, including seeds, leaves, and flowers. And it's no wonder, since mustard works well with all types of meats, pork, poultry, and seafood. Most of us are used to standard yellow prepared mustard, but there are many wonderful varieties of seeds and prepared mustards to experiment with.

Mustard Seed Types

There are over forty different varieties of mustard plants, but three are the most popular for culinary use.

Brassica nigra, nigra being Latin for black, bears black seeds which are very popular in the Middle East and Asia Minor where they originated.

• The brown seeds come from Brassica juncea, with juncea meaning rush-like. The brown originated in the Himalayans and has virtually replaced the black in American and British kitchens, particularly North American Chinese restaurants.

Sinapis alba, with alba meaning white, originated in the Mediterranean area and bears the light tan seeds which end up as the bright yellow (with the help of a little dye) mustard we apply generously to our hot dogs.

All three varieties have become naturalized to North America and can be found in nearly every state in the US as well as many provinces in southern Canada.

More about Mustard:
Mustard Substitutions and Cooking Tips
• Mustard Seed Types
Mustard Varieties
Mustard Selection and Storage
What makes mustard hot? FAQ
Mustard History
Mustard Legend and Lore
Mustard and Health
Mustard Seed and Mustard Recipes


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