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French Mustard Information: types, ingredients, properties

About Mustard

Different Types Of Mustard
Mustard is a plant belonging to the Crucifer family of which over forty species exist all over the world, but three main species are used, black, white and brown.
Black mustard, also called Brassica nigra, is a plant with hard, furry leaves growing to around 1 metre in height. It has small yellow flowers which produce a smooth, round red seed. This seed then turns black, hence its name. This mustard is rich and hot and is often used to make poultices.
White mustard also called Sinapis alba is a plant which grows to between 80 and 150 cm in height. Its yellow flowers are larger as well as its seed which is a pale yellow colour. The seed is more bitter and much less pungent.
Finally, brown mustard called Brassica juncea is a more vigorous plant which has round, brown seeds and is generally used in industry.
Dijon Mustard
Burgundy is quite simply an exceptional place for mustard, located in a wine-producing region, there could not be a better place to provide the wine and vinegar needed for mustard-making. This bourgeoise region with its brilliant, sumptuous royal court was not lacking in consumers of meat and as a consequence of this, mustard was eaten at every meal. The land was rich in potash, very favourable for cultivating the mustard plant.
Dijon already had a firm reputation under the reign of Saint-Louis, and it was Dijon mustard that was brought to the table of the Queen of France. In 1634, the manufacturing process for Dijon mustard was regulated with the first official statutes of the corporation of vinegar and mustard-makers of Dijon. The philosophy of these statutes was summed up in two words: ethics and hygiene. All manufacturers had to show «care, vigilance, honour in their conscience in order that the public can rely on their characters». Unfortunately, the mustard fields have been gradually disappearing from the Burgundy landscape since 1950, and today mainly Canadian seeds are used in mustard-making. A large-scale revival campaign has been launched by the INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research) to try to re-introduce this plant to its native soil. This is how Dijon mustard became such an original product and a reference for good quality.
Its ingredients:
Dijon mustard is sieved. The hot flavor of this mustard comes from myrosine and the myronate, two ingredients contained in black or brown mustard seeds. These black or brown seeds are cleaned of impurities, washed and then crushed. This flour is then mixed with verjuice (grape juice) and white wine. The solid content made up from seeds must be at least 22% of the weight of the finished product. This mixture is then finely sieved to separate the skin from the core of the seed to give a smooth golden yellow paste.
Mild Mustard
Mild mustard is obtained by mixing three varieties of seeds; brown, black and yellow. The solid content made up from seeds must be at least 15%. Saccharose may be added. Depending on its ingredients, this mustard is known as «green» if aromatic herbs are added, or «violet» if the verjuice includes the red grape must, and «brown» if skins added from black or brown-seeded varieties make up 6% or more of the dry matter.
Mustard «à l'Ancienne» (Moutarde de Meaux)
This is a mustard obtained using only black or brown seeds. These seeds are mixed into verjuice (vinegar or green grape juice or grape must or wine or cider, together with water and salt). Spices and aromatic herbs are then added according to each manufacturer's recipe, then the mixture is roughly ground to preserve the seeds intact, hence the brown and yellow particles. The solid content from seeds must make up at least 18% of the weight of the finished product. The milder, less spicy recipe, due to the aromatic herbs added, make this a so-called «gastronomic mustard».
Beneficial Properties Of Mustard
The properties and health benefits of mustard have been proven over the centuries... This plant could be seen to be a cure-all. From time immemorial it has been used for its antiseptic and digestive properties. In Roman times, snake or scorpion bites were treated by applying a poultice to the wound made from mustard seeds ground in vinegar. Because of its digestive properties, mustard enabled guests at Pantagruelian banquets to devour enormous quantities of meat.
From time immemorial and still today, the healthful properties of mustard are a reality; here are a few examples:
  • As an appetite stimulant, consumed in moderation, it stimulates the appetite!
  • As a digestive aid, it facilitates the digestion process by encouraging the secretion of gastric juices.
  • As an emetic, if you swallow a glass of warm water with a spoonful of mustard flour stirred into it, the results are guaranteed!
  • To relieve a sore throat, used as a gargle.
  • To soothe bronchitis, asthma or pneumonia, used in a poultice.
  • As an antiseptic and disinfectant in a poultice.
  • As a stimulant for tired feet! Add a handful of ground mustard seeds to a small bowl of hot water and soak your feet in it for ten minutes.
  • In oil, it has a powerful antibacterial and antifungal effect.
Making a poultice: Mix 25g of mustard flour and 25g of bran together, then add a few drops of water and smoothe to a paste. Spread this paste on the area to be treated without forgetting to coat it first with ointment or an oil-based cream.
Making a gargling solution: Infuse a few mustard seeds in a half-glass of boiling water for 10 minutes then filter this infusion.
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