Mustard: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits, history, and various types of mustard, along with its culinary uses and recipes in this comprehensive guide to the popular condiment.

What Is Mustard?

  • Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of different mustard plants . There are over 40 varieties, but we mostly just know and use 3 types : black, brown, and white.
  • They come from the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family (similar to Brussels sprouts and cauliflower)

Is Mustard Good For You?

Yes, mustard is good for you! And it has some health benefits depending on how it is prepared and used.

4 Health Benefits Of Mustard

  1. Mustard is a good source of nutrients . The leaves contain significant amounts of calcium, copper, and vitamins C, A, and K and the seeds are rich in fiber, selenium , magnesium, and manganese. Mustard leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, making them a nice addition to salads, soups, and stews. They can be prepared in the same way as spinach , but will give a spicier flavor to your meals
  2. Mustard is a source of antioxidants. Mustard contains antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds thought to help protect your body against damage and disease. It is a great source of glucosinolates (sulfur-containing compounds found in all cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts , and mustard). Glucosinolates are activated when the plant’s leaves or seeds are damaged — either through chewing or cutting — and believed to stimulate your body’s antioxidant defenses to protect against disease.
  3. Mustard is a low-calorie condiment so it is a great substitute for mayo or butter or higher calorie options.
  4. Mustard is high in sinigrin, a strong plant compound. Studies conducted on the pharmacological activities of sinigrin have revealed anti-cancer, antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

History, Background, and General Facts About Mustard

  • Archaeological excavations in the Indus Valley (Indian Subcontinent) have revealed that mustard was cultivated there.


  • The Romans were probably the first to experiment with the preparation of mustard as a condiment. They mixed unfermented grape juice with ground mustard seeds to make "burning must",mustum ardens— hence "must ard".


  • A recipe for mustard appears in a Roman cookbook from the late fourth or early fifth century; the recipe calls for a mixture of ground mustard, pepper , a lot of spices, honey , vinegar , fish sauce , and oil , and was used as a glaze for spit-roasted boar.


  • Dijon, France, became ‘the place’ for mustard making by the 13th century. Apparently, guests at a party by the Duke of Burgundy consumed 320 liters of mustard in a single sitting! In 1877, one of the most famous Dijon mustard makers, Grey-Poupon , was established as a partnership between Maurice Grey, a mustard maker with a unique recipe containing white wine; and Auguste Poupon, his financial backer. Due to its long tradition of mustard making, Dijon is seen as the mustard capital of the world


  • Mustard plant is native to the Mediterranean region, North Africa and parts of Europe and Asia. Grinding and mixing the seeds with water , vinegar , or other liquids creates the yellow condiment known as prepared mustard. The seeds are removed from their seed coats and are very small. They can be ground into a spice or used whole, often added to hot oil to bring out the flavor.


  • Major producers of mustard seeds include India, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Great Britain, and the United States. Brown and black mustard seeds return higher yields than yellow seeds.

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Mustard?

  • Mustard seeds are used as a spice in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The seeds are usually fried until they pop. The leaves are also stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable.
  • In a region of India , mustard oil is used for body massage during extreme winters, because it is thought to keep the body warm.
  • In Bengali cuisine mustard oil is the main oil used for cooking
  • A variety of Indian pickles consisting mainly of mangoes , red chili powder, and powdered mustard seed preserved in mustard oil are popular in southern India.
  • As a condiment or as individual seeds, mustard is used in the cuisine of India and Bangladesh, the Mediterranean , northern and southeastern Europe , Asia , the Americas , and Africa , making it one of the most popular and widely used spices and condiments in the world
  • It is also used as an ingredient in mayonnaise , vinaigrette , marinades, and barbecue sauce . It is also a popular accompaniment to hot dogs, pretzels , and bratwurst .
  • In the Netherlands and northern Belgium, it is used to make mustard soup , which includes mustard, cream, parsley , garlic , and pieces of salted bacon .

What Is The Best Way To Store Mustard?

Mustard, whether in the form of mustard seeds, prepared mustard, or mustard paste, can be stored properly to maintain its quality and flavor. Here are some guidelines for storing mustard:

  1. Unopened Mustard:

    • Store in a cool, dark place: Unopened mustard, such as mustard bottles or jars, should be stored in a cool and dark pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources. This will help maintain its quality and prevent it from spoiling.
    • Follow the expiration date: Check the "best by" or expiration date on the packaging and try to use the mustard before that date for the best flavor.
  2. Opened Mustard:

    • Refrigerate after opening: Once you open a container of mustard, it's best to store it in the refrigerator. The cold temperature helps preserve the flavor and extend its shelf life.
    • Airtight container: Transfer the mustard to an airtight container or resealable jar after opening. This helps prevent air exposure, which can cause the mustard to lose its flavor and quality over time.
    • Label and date: Remember to label the container with the date you opened it. This will help you keep track of its freshness.

What Are The Different Types Of Mustard?

There are several different types of mustard, each with its own distinct flavor and characteristics. Here are some of the most common types of mustard:

  1. Yellow Mustard: Also known as American mustard or ballpark mustard, yellow mustard is the most widely recognized type of mustard. It has a mild and tangy flavor with a bright yellow color. Yellow mustard is commonly used on hot dogs, sandwiches, and in salad dressings.

  2. Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard originated in the city of Dijon, France. It has a smooth and creamy texture with a slightly sharp and tangy flavor. Dijon mustard is made from brown or black mustard seeds, white wine or wine vinegar, and sometimes spices. It is versatile and used in dressings, marinades, sauces, and gourmet recipes.

  3. Spicy Brown Mustard: Spicy brown mustard, also known as deli-style mustard or brown mustard, has a coarser texture and a spicier flavor compared to yellow mustard. It is made from brown or black mustard seeds and can include other ingredients like vinegar, spices, and sometimes honey. Spicy brown mustard is often used in sandwiches, sausages, and deli-style dishes.

  4. Honey Mustard: Honey mustard is a sweet and tangy mustard variation made by combining mustard with honey. It has a balanced flavor with a hint of sweetness. Honey mustard is popular as a dipping sauce for chicken tenders, pretzels, and as a dressing for salads.

  5. Whole Grain Mustard: Whole grain mustard, also called coarse grain or country-style mustard, is made from whole mustard seeds that are partially ground. It has a chunky texture and a robust flavor. Whole grain mustard is often used in marinades, dressings, and as a condiment for meat and cheese.

  6. English Mustard: English mustard is known for its intense heat and sharp flavor. It is made from a combination of yellow and brown mustard seeds, along with vinegar and sometimes spices. English mustard is typically used sparingly to add a punch of flavor to dishes like roast beef, sausage rolls, and sandwiches.

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Mustard

Eating mustard seeds, leaves, or paste is generally considered safe for most people, especially when consumed in amounts typically found in the average person’s diet. But consuming large amounts , such as those typically found in mustard extracts, may result in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gut inflammation.

What Is The Best Substitute For Mustard If I Don't Have Any?

Horseradish: In some recipes, particularly those that call for spicy mustard, horseradish can be used as a substitute. Horseradish provides a similar level of heat and a distinctive flavor. Use it in moderation as a replacement for mustard.

Nutritional Facts
1 cup
Amount per serving
14.5 g
8.3 g
9.3 g
Saturated Fat
0.5 g
2749 mg
10 g
2.3 g