Everyone has tried the mustard once, although very few of us have created a sauce from scratch, starting from mustard seeds. However, although we take it directly from the sauce we buy in the supermarket, we are also taking advantage of its full potential, both nutritional and medicinal. Let’s see how this plant and its seeds.
Mustard seeds have been highly prized both in the nutritional aspect as in the medicinal, for many years. The seeds are obtained from pods from mustard plants (there are quite a few varieties) of the family Brassica.
Some of the members who also belong to this family include the cabbage the broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. In the market we can find many types, belonging to different species:
- White mustard (Sinapis alba): The seeds are light yellow in color and are slightly larger than the other varieties. White seeds have a certain itch when ingested.
- Black mustard (Sinapis nigra): This seeds can be easily found in South Asia. The seeds are somewhat spicier than those of white mustard.
- Wild mustard (Sinapis arvensis).
- Chinese mustard or chestnut (Brassica juncea).
Mustard species are native to Asia Minor, but today we can see them grown in many other regions and countries, such as in Canada, India, China and the temperate climates of the European region.
Mustard is a winter crop, and the plant can reach about 4-5 meters in height. It presents a flowering of Yellow. Its small rounded seeds, which measure approximately 1 millimeter in diameter, can be found inside a pod, as we would also find in a green pea or beans.
Benefits of mustard seeds
- From the nutritional point of view, the mustard seeds they are very rich in nutrients (minerals, vitamins and antioxidants).
- It is one of the main oilseeds, with a high caloric content. 100 grams of mustard seed provide about 500 calories, amazing. And best of all, these seeds have quality proteins, with essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
- The seeds are rich in essential oils as well as plant sterols. Some important sterols include the brasicasterol, campesterol, sitosterol, stigmasterol and avenasterol. Some fatty acids of glucosinolates and seeds include sinigrin, myrosine, erucic acid, eicosenoic acid, oleic and palmitic.
- Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential vitamins, such as folates, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and pantothenic acid, among others. These vitamins are essential for the body, as it is not able to produce them on its own. These groups of the vitamin complex Necessary for our development, they help in the synthesis of enzymes, the function of the nervous system and the metabolism of our body.
- 100 grams of such seeds also provide about 5 mg of niacin (vitamin B-3). Niacin is an important part of coenzymes and helps to decrease bad cholesterol in blood and triglyceride levels.
- They also contain antioxidant flavonoids and carotenoids, such as carotenes, zea-xanthine, and lutein. In addition, they provide a small amount of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A, C, E and K.
- As for the mineral content, they contribute calcium, manganese, copper, iron, selenium and zinc. The calcium helps form bones and teeth. The manganese is used by the Body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. The copper It is necessary in the production of red blood cells in the blood, just like iron.
Medicinal uses of mustard
Mustard seeds and their oil has traditionally been used to relieve muscle pain, rheumatism and arthritic pains. In India, mustard oil is applied to the scalp and is believed to stimulate the hair growth, although today it is not scientifically proven.
Its ground seeds act as a laxative, stimulating the gastric mucosa and increasing intestinal secretion.
How to prepare and store them
Although its flavor may confuse us, mustard does not stand out for its aromatic properties. In fact, they smell like nothing at all (or almost nothing). However, if we try them, the spicy taste will intoxicate our mouth. The spicy flavor appears when they are crushed, because once they are mixed with water they activate the myrosinase enzyme, which characterizes this flavor.
Whole mustard seeds are very well preserved for months at room temperature, as long as we have them in closed containers, in a cool, dry place and without excessive solar radiation. Without wanting to increase their shelf life, the ideal is to crush them and store the powder in the refrigerator.
This aspect is well known to many, especially on the subject of sauces. It is typical to mix hamburgers, hot dogs, potatoes and others with mustard sauce and vinegar. However, in other countries, such as the United States, breads are also made for sandwiches and salads. Mustard is also widely used to flavor fish and meat.
Mustards are widely used in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Mediterranean and German cooking. Whole seeds, soil or powder, prepared pasta, sauces and oil are used in cooking.
Where to buy mustard seeds
We can find different varieties and packaging. Types of mustard with black or yellow seed