Other names: Brown mustard
Appearance: You have probably heard the phrase “as small as a mustard seed.” A mustard seed is indeed small, spherical and about the size of a pinhead. Mustard comes in a variety of colors ranging from pale yellow to brown to “black,” which is actually more of a dark brown with hints of purple.
Typically used: Whole, bloomed in hot oil or ghee
Origin: The mustard seed is one of the oldest spices, referenced in multiple ancient texts throughout the world. The mustard seed comes from a flowering plant in the crucifer family, which means that it’s related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. Depending on how the plant is bred, its various parts can be consumed, such as leaves, flower buds, stems, roots, and in this case, the seed.
Flavor: The brown mustard seed is fiery and powerful, though less so than black mustard. The darker the seed, the more hot and pungent the flavor.
Aroma: The seed has almost no aroma.
Culinary uses: Mustard seed is found in spice mixes for meats, seafood, and legumes. The seed can be fried in ghee to provide a milder nutty flavor. The seeds are ground with vinegar and other spices to make the condiment of the same name. Mustard seed is also a common pickling spice. It pairs naturally with all of the cruciferous vegetables.