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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Flavor The Size Of A Mustard Seed

The mustard universe is a lot bigger than the bright yellow bottle perched in your refrigerator door.

close up mustard seeds against pure white background bokeh

Photo: Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr)

From the standpoint of nutrition, flavor and color, these little seeds pack quite a punch.

My mom always used mustard seeds to season lentil soup and other vegetable dishes. They make what you’re cooking more flavorful and add to the visual aesthetic as well.

Mustard seeds also contain a host of vitamins and minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

It’s Everywhere

People use mustard all over the world; there’s a great old story I remember about the spice’s ubiquity in Asia.

A grieving woman comes to the Buddha and reports of the recent death of her son. He replies, “Go to a house without death and bring me some mustard seeds from there.” The woman goes to every house in the town and returns empty handed. The Buddha smiles when he sees her return without the mustard. The woman realizes that death is inevitable and she is not alone in her grief.


Last summer I started to grow mustard, harvesting the greens for salads and other vegetarian dishes. The leaves have a pungent taste like radish and were very easy to grow. They germinate in about a week, and to my surprise, the plants stood their ground even during the frosty months in Fort Wayne, Indiana!

This year, though, I decided to let my mustard go to fruit. I planted in early April, watered regularly and mixed some of my homemade organic compost into the soil. While all the plants turned out pretty healthy, a few had white, powdery mildew. But after I sprayed them with some neem oil diluted in one liter of water, it disappeared.

Harvest Time, Cooking Time

By June, I harvested a whole cup of healthy looking mustard seeds! (See my video below). Now I am eager make more seeds of my own — seeds genetically unmodified, seeds for posterity!

Now, here are a couple of ideas for what do with your seeds:

  1. After you prepare lentil soup, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small pan. Add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds and cover the pan. The seeds will pop immediately. Once they do, add them to the soup.
  2. Pop the mustard seeds in oil and add vegetables of your choice. Cook until they’re done.

Read More:

  • DIY: Homemade Mustard And Marinated Olives (Earth Eats)
  • Late-Winter Soups, History Of School Lunch, Beer Paper (Earth Eats)
  • Holland-Style Split Pea Soup (the veganette)
Rama Cousik

Rama Cousik grew up in India, watching and helping her mom cook. The taste, the texture, and the way she feels when she eats seasonal vegetables and fruits are indescribable. Hence, no matter where she lives, the idea of seasonal food is an essential part of her food philosophy.

View all posts by this author »

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