Mustard sprouts are a classic, quick to grow for a tasty salad with a spicy, peppery flavour. The name, "mustard", derives from the Latin word "mustum" which means "must".
Wild Mustard (B. juncea) is thought to be native to Western Asia and Europe, but is now grown in many parts of the world. Recorded evidence of the use of mustard can be found dating back 7000 years in India and it is also believed to have been widely used in Africa and China perhaps even earlier. Mustard is an ordinary-looking little seed with an impressive ability to grow into a mighty plant that’s highly prolific. Its reputation as both a seed with great promise and great piquancy is supported by numerous passages found everywhere from the Bible to Shakespeare.
Mustard green are a tradition dish in the southern US. Their popularity is starting to spread, however. The mustard plant's leaves are good sources of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C, and they are great added to a salad or used in cooking.
Pick mustard leaves to use for sautéing or stewing. Add leaves to stir-fries and salads. Mustard Greens add a nice, sharp flavor contrast to mild, buttery lettuces and therefore are often one of the plants found in mesclun mixes.
As heat destroys much of the flavour of mustard, it's always best to add it late on in the cooking. Stew leaves with bacon or a ham hock, southern-style, or shred and sauté them with other greens to make a bed for grilled fish and meats. You can also add mustard greens to long-cooking soups and stews. Flowers can be used as an edible garnish.
Over the years, mustard been called an appetite stimulant, a digestive aid, and a decongestant in folk medicine. Because mustard increases blood circulation, it’s often used in plaster form to treat inflammation. Due to the presence of mucilages, mustard has laxative effects.