The term mustard oil is used for two different oils that are made from mustard seeds: A fatty vegetable oil resulting from pressing the seeds. Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter and may colored from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods and may come from one of three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), or white/yellow mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba).Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates the yellow condiment known as prepared mustard.
Mustard seeds (top-left) may be ground (top-right) to make different kinds of mustard. The other 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). Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant (white or yellow mustard, Sinapis hirta; brown or Indian mustard, Brassica juncea; or black mustard, B. nigra).
The whole, ground, cracked, or bruised mustard seeds are mixed with water, salt, lemon juice, or other liquids, and sometimes other flavorings and spices, to create a paste or sauce ranging in color from bright yellow to dark brown.
Mustard seeds have been highly prized culinary oil-seeds being in use since earlier times. The seeds are fruit pods obtained from the mustard plant, in the Brassica family. Some of the close members of mustards in this family include cabbage, broccoli, brussels-sprouts, etc. Scientific name: Brassica juncea.
Mustards are native to Asia Minor, but these days cultivated as one of the main commercial crop in Canada, India, China, and temperate climates of the European region.
Mustards are winter crops. The plant reaches about 4-5 feet in height and bears golden yellow colored flowers. They are tiny, round seeds measuring about one mm in diameter found encased inside a fruit pod.
In general, three main varieties of mustard are grown worldwide for use.
mustard plant White mustard seeds (Sinapis alba or Brassica alba): The seeds are light straw-yellow colored and are slightly larger than the other two varieties. White seeds exhibit mild pungency.
Black mustards (Brassica nigra): The seeds commonly grow in South Asia. They are sharp and more pungent than the other two varieties.
Brown mustards (Brassica juncea): The seeds are native to sub-Himalayan plains of Northern India.
Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
Being one of the chief oil seeds, mustards are indeed very high in calories; 100 g of seeds provide 508 calories. Nonetheless, the seeds are made of quality proteins, essential oils, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
The seeds are high in essential oils as well as plant sterols. Some of the important sterols include such as brassicasterol, campesterol, sitosterol, avenasterol, and stigmasterol. Some of the glucosinolate and fatty acids in the seeds are sinigrin, myrosin, erucic, eicosanoic, oleic, and palmitic acids.
Mustard seeds are an excellent source of essential B-complex vitamins such as folates, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine (vitaminB-6), pantothenic acid. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. These B-complex groups of vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and regulating body metabolism.
100 g of mustards provide 4.733 mg of niacin (vitamin B-3). Niacin is a part of nicotinamide coenzymes that help lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Mustard seeds contain flavonoid and carotenoid antioxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein. In addition, the seeds compose a small amount of vitamin antioxidants such as vitamin-A, C, and vitamin-K.
The seeds are an excellent source of vitamin-E, gamma tocopherol; contain about 19.82 mg per 100 g (about 132% of RDA). Vitamin-E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucosa and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Mustards are rich source of health benefiting minerals. Calcium, manganese, copper, iron, selenium and zinc are some of the minerals especially concentrated in these seeds. Calcium helps build bone and teeth. Manganese used by the body as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for the red blood cell formation and cellular metabolism.