A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is Mustard The Healthiest Condiment? – My 100th Blog Post!!!

Are you someone who puts mustard on (almost) everything? If so, you are not alone; I love adding the yellow condiment directly to pretzels, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. Mustard also makes for a great flavor-enhancer when mixed with salsa or pureed beans and soups. No matter how you savor mustard’s sharp taste, there are numerous benefits provided for doing so.
Ancient Romans mixed unfermented grape juice, known as "must", with ground mustard seeds to make "burning must", mustum ardens — hence "must ard". Mustard is made from the seeds of a plant belonging to the cabbage family; this family is known for containing compounds that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Similar to my favorite spice, cayenne, mustard’s sharp bite helps to break up congestion, reduce pain, and work as an anti-inflammatory. Another plus is the low calorie amount of 5 to 15 calories per serving, depending on the ingredients.
There are many types of mustard available; each with their own unique flavor and specific uses. The smooth, creamy type makes for a great dip, while coarse-ground applications are uses in marinades to coat fish and meat. Here are some of the most common types of mustard:

Yellow mustard – This is the top choice for hot dogs, hamburgers, deviled eggs, and sandwiches. A common brand is French's.
Dijon-style mustard - The two most common are Maille Dijon from France and Grey Poupon made in America. Maille is more assertive in flavor than Poupon; Grey Poupon, which is made by Kraft Foods, has a milder flavor that is perfect for delicate fish and salad dressings.
Whole-grain (aka coarse-ground) mustard - The rich, deep flavor compliments lamb and chicken dishes as a marinade or to create a simple sauce.
Brown or deli-style mustard – Has a more robust, instead of tangy, mustard flavor and pairs wonderfully in deli sandwiches and bratwurst. My favorite brands are Gulden’s and Plochman's.

I like to try as many varieties as possible, but some of the combinations can become expensive. My answer to expensive prepared food? Make it yourself! Here’s a great, simple recipe to get started making mustard today:

Homemade Mustard

• 6 tablespoons mustard seeds
• 1/2 cup mustard powder
• 3 tablespoons vinegar (cider, white wine or sherry)
• 1/2 cup white wine or water
• 2 teaspoons salt

• 2 tablespoons honey
• 2 tablespoons grated fresh horseradish, ginger, or garlic
• 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (really any kind)
• Use beer, liquor, or sake to replace part of the liquid and create a distinct flavor
1. Grind the whole mustard seeds for a few seconds in a spice or coffee grinder, or by hand with a mortar and pestle. You want them mostly whole because you are using mustard powder, too. * Try dry toasting the mustard seeds in a skillet before grinding to bring out a nice flavor.*

2. Pour the semi-ground seeds into a bowl and add the salt and mustard powder. If using, add one of the optional ingredients, too.

3. Pour in the vinegar and wine or water, then stir well. When everything is incorporated, pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge. Wait at least 12 hours before using. Mustard made this way will last several months in the fridge.

Adding turmeric as one of the spices is what gives the common yellow mustard its color. Aside from color, turmeric is a great addition for its beneficial properties. Turmeric is useful as a digestive aid, anti-inflammatory, and a cancer fighter. Curcumin is the chemical compound within turmeric that’s responsible for these healthful properties. When making mustard, add some turmeric for health and to get that pleasant yellow color.

I like mustard on a lot of things like carrots, mushrooms, hard and soft pretzels, hard boiled eggs, and tomatoes. When mixed with salsa, mustard is a great fat free salad dressing or dip. Also for dips, mix some spicy brown mustard in fat free refried beans for a good dip. Do you hate when your bottle is empty but it seems like so much is left on the sides? Add water, beer, or broth to the bottle, shake, and use to cook brown rice, soup, lentils, or any other ingredient that requires liquid. You will extract everything from the precious bottle and have a low cost way to add flavor without high calorie and expensive oils.

If you are not a fan of mustard, you’re missing out. I urge you to try making your own; it’s a fun way to learn something new and appreciate your creation by eating! I would like to end today’s post with a very necessary (for me) link on how to remove mustard stains. Enjoy!

For further reading on Mustard, check out Wikipedia.

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