14 Interesting Facts About Mustard You Should Know

Different kinds of mustard

Mustard is one of the most popular condiments in the world. This zesty yellow sauce adds flavor to sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and countless other foods.

The use of mustard seeds for culinary and medicinal purposes dates back thousands of years. Today, there are many varieties of mustard condiments made from the seeds of mustard plants.

Here are 14 intriguing facts about the history, flavors, and health benefits of mustard:

1. Ancient Origins

The earliest known use of mustard seeds dates back to ancient India, Greece, and Rome around 3000 BC (According to Encyclopedia Britannica). Ancient texts reference mustard as a popular spice and medicine.

2. Biblical References

Mustard seeds are mentioned several times in the Bible. One famous reference describes the mustard seed as the smallest of seeds that grows into a large plant, illustrating the power of faith (See this Bible passage).

3. Medicinal Uses

In ancient times, mustard was believed to have medicinal properties as a counterirritant. Hippocrates and other physicians used mustard seed poultices to stimulate blood flow for healing (As noted in Britannica).

4. Pungent Taste

The pungent, spicy taste of mustard comes from a chemical reaction when myrosinase enzymes in the seed mix with liquids. This produces volatile compounds like allyl isothiocyanate.

5. Three Main Types

The three main types of mustard seeds used to make the condiment are:

  • yellow (Sinapis alba),
  • brown (Brassica juncea)
  • black (Brassica nigra).

6. World Trade

By the 20th century, mustard became the largest spice by volume in world trade. Canada led production followed by Russia, the UK, the US, and Hungary.

7. Major Growers

Today, Canada is the top producer and exporter of mustard seed. Canada holds 57% of the global export market. Other leading growers include the US Great Plains, Hungary, Nepal, and the UK.

8. Nutrition

  • Nutrition Facts
  • Serving Size: 100g
NutrientAmount% Daily Value
Total Fat28g36%
Saturated Fat1.5g8%
Trans Fat0g
Total Carbohydrate30g11%
Dietary Fiber26g93%
Includes 0g Added Sugars0%
Vitamin D0mcg0%
Yellow Mustard Seed

*Percent Daily Values tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet.

Mustard seeds contain about 30-40% edible vegetable oil along with a similar proportion of protein. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

9. Dijon, France

traditional Dijon mustard condiment in a jar
traditional Dijon mustard condiment in a jar

The Grey-Poupon brand made Dijon mustard famous, but it originated in the 13th century when Dijon, France first commercialized spicy mustards (Atlas Obscura).

10. Non-French Ingredients

Despite the name, most Dijon mustards use non-French ingredients like Canada’s brown mustard seeds and white wine vinegar.

11. British History

Colman’s developed the first spicy Dijon-style mustard in 1936 based on an original French recipe. It became popular in Britain.

12. American Classic

Spicy brown mustard made from brown mustard seeds is the classic hot dog topping and sandwich spread in America. Brands like French’s dominate.

13. Fruit Mustards

Some unique fruit mustards add sweetness and texture. Italian mostarda features mustard oil combined with candied fruit.

14. Whisky Mustard

Scotland’s famous Arran mustard has a distinct flavor because it uses smoky Scotch whisky as an ingredient.

Mustard continues to be a versatile culinary ingredient used in cuisines worldwide. It adds a signature kick to sandwiches, hot dogs, sausages, and many other foods. The ancient condiment also offers some potential health benefits when consumed.



A: Mustard is a condiment made from mustard seeds, which come from the mustard plant. It can be used as a spread, a marinade, or an ingredient in salad dressings and vinaigrettes. Mustard is commonly known for its yellow color and spicy flavor.

A: Mustard contains beneficial nutrients like magnesium and turmeric. It also has antioxidant properties and may help reduce cholesterol levels. Eating mustard in moderation as part of a balanced diet can be beneficial for overall health.

A: Mustard is typically made by grinding mustard seeds into a fine powder and mixing it with water, vinegar, or other liquids to create a paste. Different types of mustard can be made by adding additional ingredients like honey, herbs, or spices.

A: Some popular types of mustard include yellow mustard, Dijon mustard, spicy brown mustard, and Creole mustard. Each type has its own unique flavor profile and can be used in various culinary dishes.

A: Mustard is widely available in grocery stores and supermarkets. It can be found in the condiment aisle or in the section dedicated to international or specialty foods. Alternatively, mustard can be purchased online from various retailers.

A: Mustard can be stored in a cool, dry place for an extended period of time. Unopened jars of mustard can typically last up to two years, while opened jars should be refrigerated and consumed within a few months.

A: Yes, mustard can be used in a variety of recipes beyond just being a condiment. It can be added to marinades, salad dressings, and vinaigrettes, and even incorporated into sauces, glazes, and baked goods.

A: Yes, mustard leaves are edible and can be used as greens in salads, stir-fries, or sautés. They have a slightly bitter taste and can add a unique flavor to dishes.

A: Mustard oil is commonly used in cooking and as a flavor enhancer. It is often used in Indian cuisine and can be found in a variety of recipes, including curries, pickles, and traditional Indian dishes.

A: The National Mustard Museum is located in Middleton, Wisconsin, in the United States. It is a museum dedicated to all things mustard and features a wide collection of mustard memorabilia and exhibits.

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