At one time in Britain, whole swathes of Lincolnshire & Yorkshire grew black mustard seeds, and acres of Cambridge and Essex grew yellow. But today the major producers of mustard seeds include Hungary, Great Britain, India, Canada (90%) and the United States. Thank goodness! The black and brown seeds are used mainly across India, while the yellow mustard seed is used mainly in Europe and the English-speaking world.
Mustard is a pretty remarkable spice, with many health properties. It is often used for the relief of muscular pain and even sore throats (with external application) because of its heat giving properties. It is anti-microbial, so helps in pickles and other preserved foods. You can read more about mustard seeds, the colours and types, and its uses in our post on Mustard Seeds here.
It is easy to make your own mustard paste from the seeds. They are soaked and then ground with some extra spices and herbs, and a little vinegar and sugar. Make it in small amounts and use it within a couple of weeks. Keep refrigerated.
Mustard Seed Paste
Take 2 tspns of yellow mustard seeds and 2 tspns black or brown mustard seeds, and 3 allspice berries.
Soak the mustard seeds and allspice berries in wine vinegar for at least 12 hours and then grind them with 6 green peppercorns, 1 tspn ajwain seeds, sea salt to taste, 1 tspn brown sugar, and some tarragon or other soft herb. Add some warm water if needed as you grind the ingredients. At first the paste will be bitter. Allow to sit for a day or two in the fridge to mellow the tastes.
recipe notes and alternatives
Adjust proportions of ingredients to suit your tastes.
Turmeric, garlic and/or chillies can be added.
Add some mustard seed paste to your next toasty cheese sandwich – you will never be without this condiment again.