Why we should all be keen on mustard…
To the Greeks and Romans, mustard was an indispensable staple of the medicine cabinet, well if Greeks and Romans had medicine cabinets that is?
Wherever they kept it, they certainly knew a thing or two about the health-giving and restorative powers of this magic little plant and its versatile seeds. Today of course we know that mustard seeds are a great source of selenium, magnesium, omega-3 and vitamin B1, however in common with other members of the brassica family like broccoli and sprouts, its flavour can often divide opinion.
Mustard is a medicine and not everybody likes the taste…why then would no kitchen be complete without it?
Well, there’s a lot more to mustard than the small jar of fiery yellow stuff so beloved of many as the ideal accompaniment to roast beef or boiled ham. Packed with turmeric, the reason for the yellow hue, English mustard in prepared or powder form and can be used for rubs on rabbit, chicken pork and in one spectacularly surprising and delicious Indian favourite, fish.
So, that’s hats off to English Mustard, now what about the rest?
The almost infinite variety of preparation methods, seed types, flavours and textures make the world of mustard a very busy place, here is our very brief guide to some of our favourites.
Dijon – Rather surprisingly this wonderful mustard does not enjoy PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status and unlike the vast majority of other mustards, Dijon is not always vegan but its distinctive flavour makes it a firm favourite in dressings, classic sauces and as a marinade for pork. Use a spoonful next time you are deglazing a pan to give your gravy a real kick.
German – A little like Dijon but often with a touch more heat, unsurprisingly this one is made for sausages but work really well with smoked meats and even some cheeses. The flavours range from spicy-hot to mild and even sweet, definitely worthy of investigation as an alternative to the more traditional blends.
Chinese – Also known as Chinese Hot Mustard and there is a reason for that…think wasabi heat with attitude. Made from the more powerful brown mustard seeds, this is normally to be found in powdered form and prepared using cold water but jars are also available from good deli’s and Chinese markets….Did we mention it’s hot!
American – Also known as Yellow Mustard, this version is fruity, mild and ideal for barbeques, burgers and hot dogs. It is a hugely popular type of mustard for a reason and whilst it lacks the subtle versatile qualities of a fine Dijon or English, it can be used to perk up a salad dressing.
There we have a very brief guide to this most fascinating condiment, with its many varieties and regional variations we hope you will agree that there really is more to mustard than meets the eye.
For some mouth-watering mustard inspired recipes and ideas please take a look at our website, or if you have a favourite that you think we should know about please share, we would love to hear from you.