How to Grow Mustard

comments (8) January 23rd, 2009

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A field of mustard.
A black mustard plant.
A field of mustard.Click To Enlarge

A field of mustard.

Photo: Phillip Harvey

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Cutting the mustard
Pick B. juncea leaves for salad when they’re small, young, and tender, or use the larger leaves for sautéing or stewing. Add young leaves to stir-fries and salads. Mustard greens add a nice, sharp flavor contrast to mild, buttery lettuces and therefore are often one of the plants found in mesclun mixes.

  Mustard in the kitchen:

•  How to Grind Mustard Seeds and Make Mustard

Mustard recipes:

•  Dijon Mustard
•  Chinese Hot Mustard Sauce
•  Grainy Orange-Honey-Tarragon Mustard
   
Larger mustard leaves need to be cooked. Stew them with bacon or a ham hock, southern-style, or shred and sauté them with other greens to make a bed for grilled fish and meats. You can also add mustard greens to long-cooking soups and stews. Flowers can be used as an edible garnish.

Watch out if you let the pods get too ripe, or your garden could become overrun with mustard plants, which may be exactly what you want. If you want to harvest seeds, however, pick the pods just after they change from green to brown, before they are entirely ripe; otherwise they will shatter and the fine seed will blow into every corner of your garden.

Pods should be air-dried in a warm place for about two weeks. Spread them out on clean muslin, an old sheet, or a fine screen. Once dry, gently crush the pods to remove the seeds and hulls.

Mustard, the greatest among herbs

Mustard is an ordinary-looking little seed with an impressive ability to grow into a mighty plant that’s highly prolific. Its reputation as both a seed with great promise and great piquancy is supported by numerous passages found everywhere from the Bible to Shakespeare.

How could this small nothing-of-a-seed attract grandiose praise and literary attention? Through tenacity and vigor, no doubt. See the passage below from the Book of Matthew for an example of these traits. After reading the passage, you might question whether mustard could ever attain the stature suggested. Yes, it is possible that Brassica hirta and B. nigra grew into trees in the Mediterranean climate.

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all seeds. But when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.         
   —Matthew 13:31-32

by LeAnn Zotta
February 1997
from issue #19

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posted in: greens, mustard

Comments (8)

kiwibloke8 writes: Regarding your note Biblical reference to the mustard seed becoming a tree. You are repeating a common misconception. Jesus in that verse was warning His followers the danger of the church (the kingdom of the heavens) of transmuting into a large tree that lodges evil "birds" instead of remaining as a small herb. For example an herb such as mustard cannot transmute into an oak tree that would violate its genetic code. Mustard is meant for food for humanity. In the same way the church is meant only to be small in size and good for "food" and not a huge religious organization that oppresses people.

I encourage you to change your note to reflect that Jesus desired the church to be like an herb good for feeding people and not a large tree for showiness and oppression. :-)
Posted: 10:42 am on September 7th
MarshallChauvet writes: very nice.
Posted: 12:25 am on November 4th
Rettaewart writes: I can use mustard oil for my recipes!!
Posted: 2:16 am on September 17th
mollyfross writes: nice
Posted: 3:50 am on September 7th
Ravesecer writes: I love this guide,yellow flowers on of my favourite
Posted: 3:15 am on September 3rd
Eddiennox writes: I have my own garden of mustard seeds!
Posted: 12:36 am on August 2nd
massivedynamic writes: I'm sure they can be grown there, they like very cool weather to do best as well as rich well drained soil. You can purchase seeds organic which is probably the best way to go off amazon. You could also buy them in your local grocery store but there isn't a guarantee that they haven't been tampered with.
Posted: 4:50 am on June 14th
Bartolomeo_D writes: Can Mustard seeds be planted in Washington State if so when and where can seeds be purchesed
Posted: 10:24 am on June 18th
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