Origin : mustard is an annual herbal plant of the Brassicaceae family and native to mediterranean basin. Some types of this bright yellow-petal plant can reach up to 2 meters high. Their leaves are bright green and their fruits, called siliquas, contain some mustard seeds in their husks.
Cultivation : mustard plants enjoy sunny places and grow very quickly. There are two crops per year, in spring and autumn. The weight of the seeds varies from 2.6 mg (0.009 oz.) to 3.1 mg (0.011 oz.) according to the crop.
Species : There are more than 40 species among which most common are :
Black mustard (Brassica nigra) is a small-yellow-flowered annual plant that produces red seeds. When mature, these seeds become black and taste strong and flavourful. Black mustard was used for the well-known therapeutical preparation of sinapism, also called sinapis cataplasm.
White mustard (Sinapis alba) is also an annual plant, with bigger flowers than black mustard. Its seeds differ from other mustard seeds due to its larger size and pale yellow colour. White mustard seeds have a bitter taste, but are less hot than other varieties.
Brown mustard (Brassica juncea) is a robust plant, with round seeds, larger than the black mustard ones. It has a higher output than black mustard, for it does not react to seeding as much as black mustard. It tastes hot and is the basic ingredient of Dijon mustard.