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Mustard (“Moutard” in French, “Senf” in German and “Mostaza” in Spanish) is a Condiment (Yellow Sauce) made from ground Mustard Seeds where the whole, ground, cracked, or bruised Mustard Seeds are mixed with water, SaltLemon Juice, or other liquids to create a paste or Sauce that can range in color from dark brown to bright yellow. Sometimes other ingredients, Herbs and/or Spices are added to flavor a simple Mustard.

The word "mustard" is first published in English in the 13th Century and is a derivative of the Anglo-Norman word “mustarde” which in turn comes from the Old French “mostarde.” Both are likely hand me downs from the Latin words “Mustum” (young, unfermented wine) and “Ardens” (hot, flaming) because original Mustard preparations were made with Mustum and ground Mustard Seeds.

A Roman recipe for Mustum Ardens” (burning must) appears in Apicius’ De re coquinaria in the late 4th or early 5th century. This ancient version, which was intended to Glaze Roasted Boar, was “spiked” with Black PepperCaraway SeedsLovageCoriander SeedsDillCeleryThymeOreganoOnionHoneyVinegar, Fish Sauce, and Olive Oil.

The name likely came to the French (Gauls) through trade because by the 10th Century, Parisian monks at St. Germain des Pres began making their own Mustard. Dijon became known as a Mustard making region by the 13th Century.

In England, coarse-ground Mustard Seeds were combined with Flour and Cinnamon and then moistened and rolled into Mustard Balls, which kept well and were easily made into Mustard paste as needed, with the addition of wine or VinegarTewkesbury became known for its Mustard Balls and even had a product placement in Shakespeare’s Henry the Fourth.

In 1777, Maurice Grey and Auguste Poupon began a business in Dijon, France to commercialize Grey’s recipe for a Mustard made with white wine. Grey-Poupon was a success, aided by the first automatic mustard making machine.  In 1904, at the St. Louis World’s Fair, Mustard was first used as a hot dog condiment by the R.T. French Company.

Grinding and mixing Mustard Seeds with water causes a chemical reaction between two compounds in the seed: the enzyme myrosinase and various Glucosinolates such as sinigrinmyrosin, and sinalbin. The myrosinase enzyme turns the Glucosinolates into various isothiocyanate compounds known generally as Mustard Oil. Isothiocyanates are responsible for the similar sharp, hot, sensation in Horseradish, Wasabi and Garlic.

Today, Mustard is available in a wide variety of tastes and strengths which come about through using different Mustard Seeds, different Acids and different temperatures of water. Because there are different concentrations of glucosinolates in different mustard plant varieties, different isothiocyanates are produced when each type of seed is ground, making for different flavors and potency.

At its most basic level this means that the type of Mustard Seed determines the basic “heat” of the resulting Mustard. Black Mustard Seeds and Brown Mustard Seeds tend to make more pungent Mustards than White Mustard Seeds. Using stronger acids and hotter water De-natures the enzymes that yield the Mustard’s heat while cold water and weaker acids leave more of the enzymes (and the heat) intact. Heat, like cooking heat, and the passage of time can also reduce/damage the power of a prepared Mustard so some prepared Mustards are Simmered to moderate their bite; others are aged.


Mustard is available all year long.


Locations known for their mustard include Dijon and Meaux in France; Norwich and Tewkesbury, in England, and Düsseldorf and Bavaria in Germany. Popular styles of Mustard in the West include: Table MustardBavarian MustardDijon MustardCoarse French Mustard, Romanian Mustard, Spicy Brown MustardBeer MustardIrish MustardHoney MustardFruit MustardsHot MustardsSpirited MustardsBrown Mustard, Dutch Mustard and English Mustard.


Prepared Mustard is sold at retail in a variety of containers (glass jars, plastic bottles, metal squeeze tubes, etc.) The Mustard section of the grocery store will be full of different varieties. Having a good Dijon Mustard and a good Coarse Grain Mustard give a chef options in a pinch. Of course most of us have quite a few Mustards and pick and choose between them as the occasion warrants.


Mustard should be stored in a tightly sealed, sterile container. Mustard does not require refrigeration because it makes a poor home environment for bacterial growth. But be aware that room temperature Mustard will lose pungency more quickly than refrigerated Mustard. Mustard has a very long shelf life though it will brown (from Oxidation), dry out, lose flavor, take on a bitter taste, etc.

Dried out Mustards may be revived by mixing in a small amount of wine or Vinegar. If an older Mustard separates, mixing or shaking should fix it.

Culinary Uses

Mustard is one of the most commonly used Spices and Condiments in the world. In the west, Mustard is most commonly paired with MeatsCheesesBreads (Pretzels), SandwichesHamburgers, and hot dogs. Mustard is also used as an ingredient in many Salad DressingsMayonnaisesGlazesSaucesSoups, and Marinades, where it flavors and acts as Emulsifier.

In the Netherlands and northern Belgium Mustard is used to make Mustard Soup.

Mustard is used in the cuisines of India, the Mediterranean, northern Europe, the Balkan States, Asia, North America, and Africa.

Portion Size

Allow 1-2 t of Mustard per recipe.


Mustard Seeds, Horseradish, Wasabi

Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value USDA
Amount Per 100g
Calories 67
%Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1135mg
Potassium 138mg
Total Carbohydrate 5g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

As a condiment, Mustard averages only 5 calories per teaspoon (approx.).

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie