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Mustard: plantand cultivation. The use of mustard seeds for the preparation of homemade sauce. How to grow mustard, species and varieties.
When we talk aboutmustard, generally, we refer to a sauce with a more or less spicy flavor but with the same term we can identify different plants. In fact, mustard is produced from the seeds of different plants, the two most popular plant species are:
- Brassica nigra, black mustard
- Sinapis alba, white mustard
- Brassica juncea, brown mustard or Chinese mustard
The plants differ in the shape of the flowers, leaves, stem and also in the pod containing the famous seeds.
There mustard plant it is an annual shrub that can reach a height of up to 2 meters. It is from the small flowers, white or yellow, which develop arranged in panicles, that the "fruit" develops.
The fruit of the mustard plant it is a pod that can be, depending on the variety of the plant and the species, smooth or hairy. The fruit contains the numerous seeds from which the mustard sauce is produced.
THE mustard seeds they are small and round and, depending on the variety and species of the plant starting, they can vary in terms of color and flavor. THE mustard seeds they can be sand colored, brown or black. We have already spoken, in fact, ofblack mustard, yellow mustard or white mustard.
Theremustard planthas very ancient origins: evidence of the use of thisplantdate back to the 1st century AD. The use of themustard plantwas born for medicinal purposes, probably centuries ago six used the Brassica arvensis species, calledwild mustard.
In the Middle Ages, in Europe, the mustard plant was the only "medicinal plant" also cultivated by farmers, not because it was easy to cultivate but because it was a cheap spice, the only one that medieval peasants could afford. In ancient Rome, the mustard plant was exploited for its antioxidant properties: it was used as a preservative for must and wine, replacing the more recent sulphites. Only later, in Europe, mustard began to be used in cooking, as a condiment and spice.
As stated, mustard seeds can vary in terms of aroma and color, they can also differ in terms of weight and size. The aroma ofpulverized mustard seeds it is more or less intense, depending on the species. The flavor is described as spicy: the aroma of mustard seeds is released from pulverized seeds when the compounds contained in them come into contact with water.
There mustard sauceis widespread all over the world: among the best known the Italian one stands out, that is Dijon mustard, appreciated like Bordeaux mustard. They are also known the mustard sauces English (more yellow because it is enriched with turmeric) and the German mustard sauce which is often flavored with herbs.
If you are thinking of making mustard sauce or using it in cooking, know that you can flavor it in many ways and you can serve it on both fish and meat courses. Beef tartare can be enriched with mustard tufts as well as grilled fish can be flavored with natural mustard. For all instructions onhow to use mustard sauce in cooking, recipesand advice on preparation, we refer you to the dedicated page: homemade mustard.
How to grow mustard
Theremustard plantyou cancultivateeasily: all three species mentioned can be cultivated with simplicity, without special interventions or agricultural techniques.
Theremustard is a plantrustic, this means that it is very resistant. For hiscultivationremember these simple directions:
- The plant prefers a calcareous and clayey soil… since it is oneplantrustic adapts well to any type of soil.
- It prefers a sunny exposure, the sun is needed especially at the time ofsowing, to allow the seeds to germinate.
- The sowing period falls in spring, with night temperatures that never drop below 10 ° C.
- Sow in “holes” spaced 15-20 cm apart. The word "buchette" isquotation markbecause the seeds must only be buried superficially, then covered by a thin layer of soil.
The seeds germinate within 10 days. The younger shoots can be used to flavor salads: in fact, not only the seeds are used to prepare the sauce but also the younger leaves.
You may also be interested in our related article on horseradish, a spicy root very appreciated.