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Mustard seeds (top left) may be ground (top right) to make different kinds of mustard. The four mustards pictured are a simple table mustard with turmeric coloring (center left), a Bavarian sweet mustard (center right), a Dijon mustard (lower left), and a coarse French mustard made mainly from black mustard seeds (lower right).
Facts on types of mustard
There are many varieties of mustard which come in a wide range of strengths and flavors. The basic taste and "heat" of the mustard is largely determined by seed type, preparation and ingredients. Black seeded mustard is generally regarded as the hottest type. Preparation also plays a key role in the final outcome of the mustard. Mustard, in its powdered form, lacks any potency and needs to be soaked; it is the production of Allyl isothiocyanate from the reaction of myrosinase and sinigrin during soaking that causes gustatory heat to emerge. One of the factors that determines the strength of a prepared mustard is the temperature of the water, vinegar, or other liquid mixed with the ground seeds: hotter liquids are more hostile to the strength-producing compounds. Thus, hot mustard is made with cold water, while using hot water results in milder mustard (other factors remaining the same).
The pungency of mustard is always reduced by heating, not just at the time of preparation; if added to a dish during cooking much of the effect of the mustard is lost.
Locations renowned for their mustard include Dijon (medium strength) and Meaux in France; Norwich (very hot) and Tewkesbury, famed for its variety, in the United Kingdom; and Düsseldorf (hot) and Bavaria in Germany. There are variations in the subsidiary spices and in the preparation of the mustard seeds. The husks may be ground with the seeds, or winnowed away after the initial crushing; "whole-grain mustard" retains some unground or partially ground mustard seeds. Bavarian "sweet mustard" contains very little acid, substituting copious amounts of sugar for preservation. Sometimes prepared mustard is simmered to moderate its bite, sometimes it is aged. Irish mustard is a wholegrain type blended with whiskey and/or honey.
Mustard can very easily be prepared at home by mixing powdered mustard seeds with enough vinegar or other liquid to achieve the right consistency and leaving it for 10 minutes or so. It does not keep well, so no more should be prepared than is needed.
Dijon mustard is not covered by a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the auspices of the European Union; thus, while there are major mustard plants in Dijon and suburbs, most Dijon mustard is manufactured outside of Dijon.
Dijon mustard originated in 1856, when Jean Naigeon of Dijon substituted verjuice, the acidic "green" juice of not-quite-ripe grapes, for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe.
Mustards from Dijon today generally contain both white wine and burgundy wine, and most mustards marketed as Dijon style today contain one or both of these ingredients.
In the United States, yellow mustard is referred to as "mustard". In the rest of the world, it is called "yellow mustard" or "American mustard". This is a mild mustard colored bright yellow by the inclusion of turmeric. It was introduced in 1904 by George T. French as "cream salad mustard". This mustard is closely associated with hot dogs, deli sandwiches, and hamburgers. Yellow mustard is the United States' third most popular condiment, after salsa and ketchup. Along with its use on various sandwiches, yellow mustard is a key ingredient in many potato salads, barbecue sauces, and salad dressings. Yellow mustard is often rubbed on barbecue meat prior to applying a dry rub, to form a crust, called bark, on the meat.
In wholegrain mustard, the seeds are not ground, but mixed whole with other ingredients. Different flavors and strengths can be achieved by using different blends of mustard seed species. Some variations have additives such as sun-dried tomato mustard and chili mustard.
Honey mustard, as the name suggests, is a blend of Dijon mustard and honey, usually 1:1. It is most often used as a topping for sandwiches and as a dip for chicken strips, french fries, onion rings, and other finger foods. It can also be used combined with vinegar and/or olive oil to make a salad dressing. The most basic honey mustard is a mixture of equal amounts of honey and mustard; however, most varieties include other ingredients to modify the flavor and texture.
Chinese mustard is a commonly served condiment in Chinese cuisine, and in Chinese American cuisine it is available (along with soy sauce and duck sauce) in small clear plastic packages when ordering Chinese take-out food. A similar form of mustard is also served in Korean cuisine, particularly with the buckwheat noodle dish called naengmyeon. In Japanese cuisine, a similar type of mustard is called karashi, and is served with oden, natto and other dishes. Chinese mustard is basically mustard powder and water. It is very strong compared to other types of mustard.
English and French mustards
Two common varieties of mustard in some parts of the world are English and French mustard. The English variety is typically bright yellow in appearance, but much hotter than American mustard, and is used sparingly. The French variety is typically darker in color and contains more vinegar, giving a milder taste.
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