The Three Types of Mustard Seeds March 31 2014

Grab your pen and paper. It's time for Mustard 101. Today, I'm going to walk you through where mustard comes from. It's a rather simple process, but the blank canvas provides a ton of creative opportunities for wild flavors of mustard.

So, let's start at the beginning.

Where mustard seeds come fromTo the right, you'll see a mustard plant. It looks harmless, right? Right. Well, it goes through several stages. Once it starts growing, you can harvest mustard greens from the plant. These are the same mustard greens you find on salads. They have a sharp - almost bitter - taste. (I love them - go figure!).

But, if you let the mustard grow past the greens stage, you'll get the yellow flowers. These yellow flowers produce seeds. I've heard of many seed harvesters that they often have kiddie pool's worth of seeds in a matter of minutes. Each pod on the flower holds about a pound of seeds.

Now, what about the different seeds?

Mustard plants produce three types of mustard seeds (arguably two): Yellow and brown. There are other varieties, like black mustard seeds and even white mustard seeds, but they are variations of yellow and brown. Here's how each plays out:

  • Yellow mustard seeds: These are the most mellow (and often just get mixed in with white). You can find them in our everything bagel mustard for texture.
  • Brown mustard seeds: These are used for a stronger bite, and are often found mixed with yellow seeds in a wholegrain style mustard.
  • Black mustard seeds: These are the strongest. If you simply add water and let the mixture sit overnight, you'll have some super-hot mustard on your hands.

Mustard seeds can then be ground to a powder or flour - know as well, mustard powder. We use these ground mustard seeds in every one of our mustards.

And don't get any ideas to grind your own. The oils from the seeds (which can actually be used for biodiesel) are slick which means a traditional grain grinder is going to get all gummed up.

So that's where mustard seeds come from. Hope you learned something :)

-- Michael