White mustard

"Yellow mustard" redirects here. For the condiment, see Mustard (condiment). For the North American plant, see Guillenia flavescens. For Mustard White butterfly, see Pieris oleracea.
White mustard
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Sinapis
Species: S. alba
Binomial name
Sinapis alba

Brassica alba
Brassica hirta

White mustard seeds (right) compared with rice seeds (left)

White mustard (Sinapis alba) is an annual plant of the family Brassicaceae. It is sometimes also referred to as Brassica alba or B. hirta. Grown for its seeds, mustard, as fodder crop or as a green manure, it is now widespread worldwide, although it probably originated in the Mediterranean region.


White mustard is an annual, growing to 70 cm high with stalkless pinnate leaves. Similar to Sinapis arvensis.[1]


It is found as a casual alien in the area of Belfast, Northern Ireland[2] and naturalized throughout Great Britain and Ireland.[3]

Culinary uses

The yellow flowers of the plant produce hairy seed pods, with each pod containing roughly a half dozen seeds. These seeds are harvested just prior to the pods becoming ripe and bursting.

White mustard seeds are hard round seeds, usually around 1.0 to 1.5 mm (0.039 to 0.059 in) in diameter,[4] with a color ranging from beige or yellow to light brown. They can be used whole for pickling or toasted for use in dishes. When ground and mixed with other ingredients, a paste or more standard condiment can be produced.

The seeds contain sinalbin, which is a thioglycoside responsible for their pungent taste. White mustard has fewer volatile oils and the flavor is considered to be milder than that produced by black mustard seeds.

In Greece, the plant's leaves can be eaten during the winter, before it blooms. Greeks call it vrouves (βρούβα) or lapsana (λαψάνα). The blooming season of this plant (February–March) is celebrated with the Mustard Festival, a series of festivities in the wine country of California (Napa and Sonoma Counties).

Mustard sauce has traditionally been prepared in the following manner:

  1. Take 9 teaspoons of mustard seeds and roast in skillet (without oil)
  2. Pound the roasted seeds in mortar with pestle
  3. Take 3 egg yolks (boiled) and crush. Mix with ground mustard
  4. Add 10 cloves of garlic (crushed). Mix.
  5. Add 2 ½ heaping teaspoons of white wheat flour. Mix.
  6. Add 3/4 cup of wine vinegar. Mix.
  7. Add lemon juice. Mix.
  8. Add 1 teaspoon of table salt
  9. Add honey (if desired)

See also


  1. Webb, D.A., Parnell, J. and Doogue, D. 1996. An Irish Flora. Dundalgan Press Ltd., Dundalk. ISBN 0-85221-131-7
  2. Beesley, S. and Wilde, J. 1997. Urban Flora of Belfast. The Institute of Irish Studies and The Queen's University of Belfast. ISBN 0-85389-695-X.
  3. Clapham, A.R., Tutin, T.G. and Warburg, E.F. 1968 Excursion Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-04656-4
  4. Balke, D. (2000). "Rapid aqueous extraction of mucilage from whole white mustard seed". Food Research International. 33 (5): 347–356. doi:10.1016/S0963-9969(00)00055-7.
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