Mad for Mustard

National Mustard Day is coming up!

One of the world’s most beloved condiments, mustard is a versatile and healthful addition to any diet.

Today we are going to discover a bit more about how mustard is made, its history, and why it is so good for you.

National Mustard Day

mustard bowl top viewObserved on the first Saturday in August at the National Mustard Museum, National Mustard Day is a fun-filled day to honor one of the most popular condiments on the planet.

The Mustard Museum has been the event’s official sponsor since 1991.

In 2010 the museum moved to its current home in Middleton, Wisconsin where National Mustard Day is now celebrated. Attended annually by more than 6000 mustard lovers, the festivities include music, games, and free mustard sampling.

Plus, the museum has organized the day in order to raise thousands for charities. This year’s Mustard Challenge will be a continuation of last year’s campaign to raise awareness about the need for pediatric cancer research.

All About Mustard

mustard bowl top viewMustard belongs to the family of veggies which includes turnips, radishes, horseradish, and watercress—all foods known for some degree of heat.

Mustard begins as a tiny seed.

When these seeds are crushed, they form a mustard powder which is used as a spice.

Alternatively, the mustard seeds (which may be whole, ground or cracked) can be blended with water, salt, lemon juice or other liquids to create a paste, which we call mustard.

Mustard can range in color from bright yellow to dark brown and in taste from mild to hot.

While we find many varieties and grades of mustard seeds, there are two basic types, which are the yellow seed (which is mellow) and the oriental seed (which is hot).  Almost all wet mustard is a blend of the two.

When mixed with water, the mustard seed becomes hot due to an enzymatic reaction. With the yellow seed, the heat lasts only 24 hours while the oriental seed retains its heat.

Seventy to 85 percent of the world’s mustard seeds are grown in Canada.

History

mustard bowl top viewArchaeologists believe that mustard cultivation existed in the Indus Valley until 1800 BC, while prepared mustard was an invention of the Romans.

The Latin roots of the word mustard come from the combination of:

  • ‘Mustum’ which means must or young wine
  • ‘Ardens’ which means hot or flaming

The Romans mixed must (unfermented grape juice) with ground mustard seeds to create ‘burning must’ or mustum ardens, which was then shortened to ‘must ard.’

A recipe for mustard appears in a Roman cookbook as early as the 4th or early 5th century. They also used mustard medicinally, applying it externally to relieve aches and pains.

The Romans most probably exported mustard to France, where its first appearance dates back to 1292.

Dijon, France became the mustard-making center in the 13th century, a tradition that continues to this day.

According to one account, at a party hosted by the Duke of Burgundy in 1336, a whopping 320 liters of mustard crème were consumed in one sitting.

In 1777, Grey Poupon was established—a partnership between Maurice Grey, a mustard maker who had developed a unique white wine-based mustard recipe, and his financial backer Auguste Poupon. The company’s success gained serious momentum in 1937 with the introduction of the first automatic mustard-making machine.

In England, mustard was used as a condiment as early as 1390 where it appeared in the King’s master cook’s cookbook.

In the US, mustard first appeared during the 1904 St. Louis World’s fair.

Dr. Rosane Oliveira and Double Mustard Oven FriesHow to Celebrate National Mustard Day

One way of celebrating National Mustard Day is to spread the word about the need for pediatric cancer research by participating in the Mustard Challenge.

Another way to commemorate is to prepare a beautiful dish with mustard like this one for Double Mustard Oven Fries.

A great cause. A superb condiment.

Enjoy!