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Powerful Little Mustard Seed

Updated on May 21, 2018
Pamela99 profile image

I love history and all the events that built our great country. Some events have details known by the average person but still interesting.

History of Mustard Seed

Mustard seeds have been traced to ancient times but the origins are lost in history. Initially, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one and was used for scorpion stings. A hundred years later Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines and poultices, used to cure toothaches and a number of ailments.

Egyptians tossed the seeds on their food and mustard seeds were placed in King Tut’s tomb. Wealthy Romans ground the seeds and mixed them with wine. Westerners had mustard seeds long before pepper.

The word mustard comes from the Middle English mustarde, meaning condiment; which in turn comes from the Old French mostarde he. Then there is the famous parable from the Bible where Jesus says, “"If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,' and it would obey you!”

Mustard Plant

Photo Courtesy from wildflowers of Ontario
Photo Courtesy from wildflowers of Ontario

Mustard Seed


Types of Mustard Plants

There are 40 species of mustard plants and the ones that are used for commercial mustard are black, brown, and white mustard. White mustard is what is primarily used in yellow mustard and is grown in the Mediterranean basin. Brown mustard originated in the Himalayas and is the basic mustard found in Chinese restaurants and is the basis for mustard found in American and European restaurants.

Black mustard is popular in the Middle East and Asia Minor. It has to be hand harvested, so it is not used much in other areas. Mustard is a member of the Brassica family which bear tiny edible seeds and edible leaves. Interestingly enough the mustard plant is in the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard, kale and kohlrabi

Mustard popularity was declining in the mid 1700’s due to new spices arriving from the Americas and the Far East. The market was revived in France, in the city of Dijon when Burgundian Jean Naigeon substituted verjuice for the vinegar in prepared mustard. The mustard was less acidic and the smooth, suave Dijon mustard assumed its place in history.

Function of Mustard

Mustard in the kitchen has three main functions: a condiment, a flavoring agent or spice, and a vegetable. Mustard is good to bind a sauce and is used commercially to create the proper texture in sausages and prepared meat products. Of course, mustard is used out of the jar on sandwiches, hot dogs or other prepared food. A spoon full of mustard is good on a piece of grilled fish, on sausage or roast beef.

The use of mustard flour is a condiment in most common Asian cuisine. It is used on egg rolls and this mustard is hot and sharp

Spicy Mustard


Mustard Types and Uses

Mustard as a flavoring agent must be used skillfully beginning with the choice of mustard. Out of hundreds of mustard types available today, there are only a few that are suitable for most cooking. To maximize the flavor, mustard should be added late in the cooking process because heat destroys much of the mustard’s distinctive taste. Many sauces are made using mustard, such as honey mustard sauce.

Mustard flour is part of many traditional recipes, such as gingerbread and chocolate cake. It is used as other spices and it contributes a depth and richness of flavor that is not necessarily identified as mustard. Some claim mustard flour heightens the flavors of all foods.

Beside the basic yellow mustard, some of the more well know varieties of mustard are deli-style mustard, Dijon mustard, Stone-ground and Whole-Grain mustard, sweet mustard, honey mustard, fruit mustard, herb mustard, Horseradish mustard, hot mustard, Old World Mustard, English and French mustard, Spirited mustard, mustard garlic, Irish mustard, Australian mustard, and other miscellaneous mustard

Mustard Field in Bloom


How to Make Mustard

Mustard Trivia

Mustard doesn’t require refrigeration because of its antibacterial properties, but it will lose pungency more quickly and should be stored in a tight sealed container. Mustard doesn’t have any particular great nutritional value, but the good news is there are no calories.

To add just a few little interesting facts:

  • More than 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed annually worldwide. Mustard is the second most popular condiment in the U.S. second only to peppercorns. National Mustard Day is August 1st.Pope John XXI loved mustard so much that he created a new Vatican position—grand moutardier du pape (grand mustard-maker to the pope)—and promptly filled the post with his nephew.
  • New York’s Yankee Stadium uses more than 1,600 gallons plus 2,000,000 individual packets of mustard annually.
  • Ancient Chinese considered mustard an aphrodisiac.
  • An old German custom had the bride sew mustard seeds into the hem of her wedding gown to assure her dominance of the household.
  • Mustard seeds are spread around the outside of the house to ward off evil spirits in some cultures, and is more common in Denmark and India.
  • Jewelry is made using the mustard seed, necklaces and bracelets..

In summary, all parts of the mustard plant are edible and obviously it is a very popular condiment. It is much more than the condiment you put on your hot dog at the ball park, although that is a good part of the whole sporting experience.

The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.


Submit a Comment

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    RTalloni, I know a lot of people that like that snack. Thanks so much for your comments.

  • RTalloni profile image


    7 years ago from the short journey

    I too like mustard on pretzels...not the soft ones, but those little hard ones. Great snack!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Christine, I know someone else who likes mustard that well. Thanks for sharing your comments.

  • ChristineVianello profile image


    7 years ago from Philadelphia

    I love this hub...I also have an amzaing love for mustard. I overdose mustard on my pretzels!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    wcoffeechick, Often those necklaces are to do with the Bible as faith the size of the small mustard seed is sufficient. Thanks for your comment.

  • wcoffeechick profile image


    7 years ago from West Virginia

    Luvit:) my mother used to wear a necklace containing a mustard seed under glass, when I was a child:)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Nancy, Thank your very much for your comment and I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

  • nancy_30 profile image


    8 years ago from Georgia

    Very interesting hub. I enjoyed learning about the history of the mustard seed.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Support Med, The history is interesting for this little seed. Thanks for your comments.

  • Support Med. profile image

    Support Med. 

    8 years ago from Michigan

    Wow, a Vatican position for mustard! There is more to mustard than what I thought, but thank God 'faith the size of a mustard seed' can do wonders! Voted-up/rated!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Oceansunsets, Thank you very much for your comments.

  • oceansnsunsets profile image


    8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

    Hello Pamela, I enjoyed this hub on mustard and the history and things I learned. Thank you!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    EyePOD, I am glad to see you have a sense of humor and that you like apparently like the hub.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    i apologize for what i am about to do

    this hub definitely cuts the mustard

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    K9strokes, Thank you so much for your comments. I'm glad you liked the hub. I like mustard based sauces also.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 

    8 years ago from Northern, California

    Well done Pamela99. Am a big mustard fan. If you substitute mustard for katsup in homemade bbq sauces, a BBQ can become something a bit more special when using pork derived meats.

    Outstanding history information.

    If only all of us could find something so wonderful in everything so small... voting up!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    R. Tallone, Thanks for your comment.

    Allison, You are right about the gluten free diet. Thanks for your comments.

  • Alison Graham profile image

    Alison Graham 

    8 years ago from UK

    Thanks for a really interesting hub. Would like to add that people on gluten free diets should take care and check the packaging on 'made' mustards as sometimes wheat flour is included.

  • RTalloni profile image


    8 years ago from the short journey

    Now I have to read more about mustard's antibacterial properties! Thanks :)

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Billy, Yes, I have different types of mustard at home also. Thanks for your comments.

  • billyaustindillon profile image


    8 years ago

    Great hub - I am a bit of a mustard fan - different mustards for different meats - it really does make it different and enjoyable.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Sheila, I[' glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.

    Springboard, I think ketchup probably is pretty high up on the popularity list also. Thanks for your comment.

    Patriot, At least you have a master plan to help those that are unemployed. Maybe it would raise money since now the deficit is higher than the gross domestic products. Thanks for your comments.

    Katiem, Thanks for your comment.

  • katiem2 profile image


    8 years ago from I'm outta here

    Great info on the powerful little mustard seed. :)

  • profile image

    partisan patriot 

    8 years ago


    First since historically mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one maybe that’s the simple answer to our economy. Spread Mustard up and down Wall Street; in the Board Rooms of all large American Based Corporations; in all our Banks, up and down Main Street U.S.A. and even all over Bwarney Fwank the Banking Queen (he would love it); that makes as much sense as anything this Regime has proposed so far. Think of all the jobs that would be created first you would need mustard spreaders then mustard cleaner uppers!

    Good ole Don’t Mess With Joe; Turrets Syndrome Biden himself could proudly stand before the cameras and proclaim how they’ve created an additional 746,000 jobs just this month as mustard Spreaders.

    Helen Thomas; aka I hate Jews, could ask the first question at the next White House Briefing about the proposed Mustard Plan and follow up with a request to Proclaim Barrack Hussein Obama America’s First Mustard King!

    Now as far as the Biblical reference where Jesus says, “"If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,' and it would obey you,” goes; you know as well as I that that’s gotta go. Since America is no longer a Christian Nation as Proclaimed by none other than Barrack Hussein Obama on his most recent Magical Middle Eastern Tour; Tra La- The Magical Middle Eastern Tour; Tra La-The Magical Middle Eastern Tour; the Magical Middle Eastern Tour is coming to take you away……….

  • Springboard profile image


    8 years ago from Wisconsin

    As always, an interesting topic. Going to have to look up some recipes that use more of this now. Never knew it was as popular as it is either. I'd have thought ketchup may have taken the reigns on that one. :)

  • sheila b. profile image

    sheila b. 

    8 years ago

    Now I understand your title - how important this plant has been, while we think of it mainly as a spread. I particularly enjoyed your 'interesting facts' section, could relate to Yankee Stadium, and how much mustard is consumed there.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    2besurem I'm glad you learned something new. Thank you for your comment.

    Auginwu, Thank you so much for the complement and your comments.

    akirchner, Thank you so much for the comments. It has not been easy to fihd a really interesting topic with these guidelines.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    8 years ago from Washington

    Great info and I LOVE mustard dishes. You really covered it well and did pick a subject that was actually refreshing! I'm so tired of seeing what I'm writing about I could about slap myself.

  • anglnwu profile image


    8 years ago

    I find this hub very interesting and definitely learned a great deal about this tiny little seed, so small it has a place in Jesus's parable. Rated it up and nice work, Pam, yet again.

  • 2besure profile image

    Pamela Lipscomb 

    8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

    I learned something new about mustard seeds!

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Sandy, Thank you for your comment.

    Tom, That's funny. I have seen people use mustard on some unusual things. Thanks for your comment.

    Darlene, Thank you for your comments. I think writing a poem would be a great idea. I'll watch for it.

    Rpalulis, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thanks for your comments.

  • rpalulis profile image


    8 years ago from NY

    Love all the facts you added on Mustard. Great hub, I love it and I love mustard as well.

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    8 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Great hub on the mustard seed, makes me what to write a poem about having enough faith for one little mustard seed. Thumbs up my friend

  • Tom Whitworth profile image

    Tom Whitworth 

    8 years ago from Moundsville, WV


    Interesting hub on mustard. Back in high school I had a friend who developed a taste for mustard on french fries to prevent others from bumming his fries at lunch and it worked.

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    Interesting hub on mustard seed.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    drbj I have seen mustard eating on a lot of different kinds of sandwiches and some eat it on hamburgers. It does sound like a lot. Thanks for your comments.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    8 years ago from south Florida

    We eat 700 million pounds of mustard a year in the U.S.? That's an awful lot of mustard. Must mean we're consuming an awful lot of hot dogs. No one I know eats mustard just by itself.

    Thanks for the interesting and little-known (to me) info and trivia, Pamela.

  • Pamela99 profile imageAUTHOR

    Pamela Oglesby 

    8 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Hello, Thank you for your comments.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    8 years ago from London, UK

    Very, very interesting and informative. Thank you for your research


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