Mustard is, with permission from mayonnaise and ketchup, the world’s favorite sauce, though its history is much longer.
Their applications in gastronomy they are almost limitless: it is a must in hot dogs or hamburgers, a hit in salad dressings, and a magical condiment in countless casseroles.
But more than talking about “mustard” we should talk about “mustards”. The seeds of the mustard plant have never been consumed unprocessed, and in their elaboration the spice is completely transformed.
Whole, ground, or crushed mustard seeds are mixed with water, vinegar, lemon juice, wine or other liquids, salt, and often other seasonings and spices. The result is a paste or sauce of a color ranging from bright yellow to dark brown and a flavor ranging from sweet to spicy.
On the supermarket shelf we find all kinds of mustards, but which one to choose? We all have a favorite mustard, Depending on our tastes, but not all of them are suitable for everything and, in addition, their composition is very different, which can be decisive if we are trying to lose weight: there are mustards that barely have calories (They do not contain sugar) and others that have it in amounts similar to ketchup.
Origin and elaboration of mustard
Mustard was the first spicy species, the only native one, which was used in Europe, and appears already in several prehistoric settlements; but, curiously, its main characteristic, the spicy, does not appear if it is not transformed.
If we want to add mustard to a stew and that this pique we must do it at the end of this
As it explains Harold mcgee on The kitchen and food, dried mustard seeds are not spicy, and neither does its dust. The heat develops after a few minutes to a few hours when the seeds are soaked in a liquid and ground, or simply when the pre-ground seeds are moistened. The combination of moisture and cellular breakdown revives the enzymes in the seeds and allows them to release the pungent compounds from their storage forms.
Almost all mustard sauces are made with acidic liquids –Vinegar, wine or juices– that delay the action of enzymes, but also the disappearance of spicy compounds, which gradually react with oxygen and other substances in the mixture.
If the mustard is cooked, the irritating molecules are eliminated or modified, thus reducing the spiciness. For this reason, if we want to add mustard to a stew and this pique we must do it at the end of it; on the contrary, a strong Dijon mustard can be used without the stew going out of whack if it is used from the beginning of cooking.
The basic types of mustard
Mustard sauce as we know it today has its origin in Rome. Its name, in fact, does not come from the Latin word that designated the plant (sinapis) but rather the seasoning that was made with its seeds and freshly fermented wine (mustum). “Mustard” and “must” therefore have the same root.
This primal mustard was evolving in the different countries of Europe, and already in the Middle Ages the first sauces appeared with combinations similar to those we know today.
What has changed the most are, perhaps, their own mustard seeds. There are three basic types of mustard: black, brown, and white or yellow.
The brown mustard is the usual in Europe, the white or yellow in America
The black mustard, with great spicy potential, was the most used in Europe, but was gradually replaced by the brown, somewhat less spicy, but whose cultivation is much more appreciated. Almost all European mustards today are made from brown mustard, and black is used almost exclusively in India, where it is still very important.
The white or yellow mustard It is native to Europe and is much smoother, especially on the nose. It is the one that is used mainly in the United States.
From the combination of these mustards and the seasonings, the different sauces that we find today in supermarkets. The variety of mustards is enormous, and it changes a lot in every part of the world, so we are going to focus on the main sauces that can be found in Spanish supermarkets. These are:
American yellow mustard
It is the most widespread mustard today, the one offered in most of fast food chainsIt has an intense and spicy yellow color, slightly mild.
Its bright yellow color comes not only from the use of finely ground yellow mustard seeds, but also from use of turmeric powder. These two ingredients are mixed with vinegar and water, and sometimes some other mild spices, to create a thick sauce.
It is the mustard that he uses the most to accompany puppies and hamburgers, although it can also be used to make salad dressings or marinades.
It is a mustard that usually always carry some sugar (in some of its forms), sometimes in significant quantities. There are brands, however, that do not carry a trace of this. It is the case of the French’s mustard, which despite its name is one of the most classic American mustards.
English yellow mustard
American yellow mustard comes directly from English mustard, which is still manufactured by the brand Colman’s, that at first it only sold its powdered version – which can still be bought to prepare “homemade” mustard –
It is a especially spicy variety, that also goes up a lot through the nose, and not very sweet, although it does have sugar (13 grams per 100). It is ideal to accompany sandwiches and roasts, perhaps too strong for other raw preparations.
We now turn to the mustard preferred by the French. It was Jean naigeon the first who prepared this mustard in the town of Dijon, in 1856, substituting the vinegar for the acid must of green grapes. Today, however, most of these mustards are made with alcohol vinegar or white wine.
Dijon mustard is the spiciest that we can find, and that is why it is usually combined in other preparations. It is ideal for making vinaigrettes, adding to mayonnaise, and using in stews such as this broccoli with yogurt and mustard, this baked fish in mustard sauce or this roast beef with mustard.
It is one of the healthiest mustards, because it does not have any sugar.
Mustard “old fashioned”
Mustard “old fashioned” is distinguished by being made with whole mustard grains, which are mixed with other ingredients. The seeds are actually ground enough to form a paste, but not all of them are completely broken down, which gives it that look and a crunchier texture.
Although it is made with brown and black seeds, more spicy, as the sauce does not break completely, the heat of the sauce is less. It also has more vinegar, making it the most acidic mustard, and has some sugar.
It works well on sandwiches, salad dressings, and also in casseroles, like this Steamed Salmon with Old-Fashioned Mustard Sauce and Cider or these Spaghetti with Old-Fashioned Mustard Béchamel and Bacon.
Sweet brown mustard
We go now to Germany, another mustard-loving country, essential to accompany its sausages. Although the Germans have many types of mustard, with different degrees of spiciness and seasonings (generally very Dijon-style), their most traditional preparation is sweet brown mustard. typical of Bavaria.
This mustard, which always appears in the promotions of the Oktoberfest, it has much more sugar than the rest, more sugar even than mustard, up to 38 grams per 100.
Although we should not abuse it, it is, logically, one of the best to accompany sausages.
Spicy brown mustard
Spicy brown mustard is typical of the US, but it is also sold in Spain, specifically that of the famous brand Gulden’s. It is made from brown mustard seeds that are roughly ground and soaked in less vinegar than a standard mustard. It is spicier than yellow mustard and has a thicker texture. It has no sugar.
It is the mustard that usually accompanies the famous New York pastrami, and it also goes great with the roastbeef and the sausages.
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