Description / Application
Mustard (or yellow sauce) is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant (white or yellow mustard, Brassica sinapis hirta; brown or Indian mustard, Brassica juncea; or black mustard, Brassica nigra). The whole, ground, cracked, or bruised mustard seeds are mixed with water, salt, lemon juice, or other liquids, and sometimes other flavourings and spices, to create a paste or sauce ranging in colour from bright yellow to dark brown.
Commonly paired with meats and cheeses, mustard is a popular addition to sandwiches, salads, hamburgers, and hot dogs. It is also used as an ingredient in many dressings, glazes, sauces, soups, and marinades; as a cream or a seed, mustard is used in the cuisine of India, the Mediterranean, northern and southeastern Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, making it one of the most popular and widely used spices and condiments in the world.
The many varieties of mustard come in a wide range of strengths and flavours depending on the variety of Mustard Seed and the preparation method. The basic taste and “heat” of the mustard is determined largely by seed type, preparation and ingredients. Preparations from the white mustard plant (Brassica sinapis alba) have a less pungent flavour than preparations of black mustard (Brassica nigra) or brown Indian mustard (Brassica juncea). The temperature of the water and concentration of acids such as vinegar also determine the strength of a prepared mustard; hotter liquids and stronger acids denature the enzymes that make the strength-producing compounds. Thus, hot mustard is made with cold water, whereas using hot water results in milder mustard (other factors remaining the same). The pungency of mustard is always reduced by heating, but not just at the time of preparation; if added to a dish during cooking, much of the effect of the mustard is lost.
Mustard oil can be extracted from the chaff and meal of the seed. In its powdered form, mustard lacks potency; it is the soaking that causes gustatory heat to emerge.
Shipment / Storage / Risk factors
Prepared mustard is sold at retail in glass jars, plastic bottles, or metal squeeze tubes. Because of its antibacterial properties, mustard does not require refrigeration; it will not grow mold, mildew, or harmful bacteria. Unrefrigerated mustard will lose pungency more quickly, and should be stored in a tightly sealed, sterilized container in a cool, dark place. Mustard can last indefinitely, though it may dry out, lose flavor, or brown from oxidation. Mixing in a small amount of wine or vinegar will often revitalize dried out mustard. Some types of prepared mustard stored for a long time may separate, which can be corrected by stirring or shaking. If stored for a long time, unrefrigerated mustard can acquire a bitter taste. The maximum duration of storage is primarily dependent upon temperature. Mustard which is stored at approximately 20°C loses so much quality (especially pungency) in just 3 months that it is no longer fit for sale. If stored under chilled conditions, on the other hand, mustard has a storage life of 6 – 9 months or sometimes even longer.
The quality of mustard may have degraded by storage for an excessive period or under poor conditions; this may become apparent by the surface exuding water or taking on a gray colour. The action of light, oxygen and heat is to reduce the pungency or strength of mustard.
Because of the impact-sensitivity of the packages (especially with glass jars), they must be handled with appropriate care during cargo handling, transport and storage.