Mustard Seeds: The Small and Pungent Spice

Mustard seeds are small round seeds contained within the fruit pod that grows on the mustard plant known as Brassica. There are various different types of mustard seeds each with their own culinary value. 

History of Mustard Seeds

The history of mustard seeds goes back to 3000 BC. It is considered to have originated in Ancient Egypt. Mustard seeds were used by the Greeks both medicinally and used as a spice to enhance the flavor. Mustard seeds were brought to Northern France by the Romans where it was later harvested by monks. The word mustard is derived from the word “mosto” or grape must, which in ancient times was a condiment consisting of ground mustard seeds and freshly crushed wine grapes. 

Appearance of Mustard Seeds 

Mustard seeds are very small, smooth, round-shaped seeds; they usually measure up to 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter and come in different colors like black, brown, yellow, or white. 

Flavor of Mustard Seeds

There are three types of mustard seeds that dominate the culinary world: 

●     Black

Image Credit: Flickr user djwtwo ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )

●     White 

Image Credit: Ajale from Pixabay 

●     Brown 

Image Credit: Andrea Barstow from Pixabay 

Black mustard has a more bitter and peppery flavor among the three varieties, whereas brown mustard seeds taste less peppery than black and are hotter than yellow mustard.  Yellow mustard seeds are much milder and softer than the other two with a tinge of sweetness. The flavor of the yellow mustard stays on your tongue for a longer period of time.

Culinary Benefits

Mustard is perhaps the most loved spice in the world and it is still growing in popularity. Mustard is the highest-selling spice not only in India and Pakistan but also in countries like Canada, the United States (US), and Germany.

Mustard is popular in the US whether used as a condiment on hot dogs or used to create rich and creamy mustard sauces for pork chops. Mustard seeds are widely used in various dishes. 

Mustard is one of the most loved spices in Indian cuisine. These seeds are mostly used whole and dropped into hot oil until they pop and crackle. This step helps to aromatize the mustard seeds so they are more pungent in the finished dish. Kerala fish curry is one of the most loved dishes that you can prepare using these tiny seeds.

Another dish you can try in the comfort of your home is Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce. This recipe is sure to give you a restaurant-like taste that is rich in mustard flavor.

Want to enjoy the classic pairing of honey and mustard? Don’t forget to try out our recipe for honey mustard salmon.


Mustard seeds are usually stored dry.  To ensure safe and long-term storage, the moisture of the seeds should be kept very low. Keep the seeds in a dim and dry place; you can store mustard seeds for up to 12 months, but will taste freshest within 6 months. 

Feature Image: Enotovyj from Pixabay 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments