Posted by: David | August 7, 2007

The Mustard Seeds

I said I would post about mustard, so here we go. I love mustard. All kinds. The hot stuff you get at the Chinese restaurants which blows out your sinuses, the sweet honey-mustard you dip those horrid McNuggetty chicken-foam things into, the Guldens, the French’s, the Grey Poupon!

We’ve grown mustard for the greens and the seeds for years. The seeds we’ve been propogating for a while are reddish brown in color, and yield a pretty pungent table mustard somewhere between Grey Poupon and Colemans or Chinese restaurant mustard. At one time we were able to procure from Johnny’s Seeds of Albion, Maine, a variety of mustard whose seeds were large (a millimeter or more) and light yellow in color. They yielded a much more nose-friendly prepared mustard. I was able to mix them with the hot stuff to make something that the average person could tolerate. Johnny’s doesn’t have those any more.

Mustard is of the brassica family. The brassica family rocks the freakin vegetable house. Cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, turnips, and rutabgagas.

These vegetables are what Jesus would have wanted us to eat. He is quoted on the topic of mustard trees. No one has ever seen a mustard tree, but that’s not the point. I’ll bet that Mr. Christ liked mustard, and all brassicas, as much as I do. Not only are all brassicas delicious raw and cooked, healthful and anti-carcinogenic, but they are also usually very gas-producing! A sign from god. Gas keeps your intestines interested in living. And it keeps humans and all mammals amused and happy. Greenhouse gases maybe not such a benefit …

Mustard plants are pretty. Johnny’s has a variety called “Green Wave”, which describes nicely the way the big, light-green leaves curled all gnarly and tubular, like the mad ocean waves dug by the surfers. The leaves raw have the snot-bringing eye-watering power of any wasabi, horseradish, or hot mustard, while cooking them brings out a rich and tangy dimension. So many varieties! The seeds we’ve been saving for years came from a varietal that came from Johnny’s seeds a number of years ago: Burgonde. That’s gotta be French for burgundy, which is sort of the color of the seeds.

Two rows of mustard plants, beds 8 and 9. The violet flowers are a couple of borage plants that came up in the mustard . We let them go. The bumblebees love borage.

The mustard seeds have pollenated and are plumping up in their long skinny pods. I need to get a nice close-up shot of those pods. The corn is swelling in its husks- it will be ready this weekend. The garlic has all been harvested and sits on a table in the basement drying out. Most of it will probably be planted in a few months. In much richer and loftier soil.




  1. I love the pictures of the mustard seed and your writing about it and your love for it. Jesus (Or Mr. Christ as you put it) said in Matthew 17:20, that “if we had faith as a grain of mustard seed we could move mountains and nothing would be impossible to us.” This writing made may day!

  2. Glad you enjoyed the post Dausta, thanks for your nice comment.

    Kidding aside, I choose to believe that the mustard seed was mentioned in connection to faith because of its size to potency ratio. The tiny seeds produce a very pungent paste when prepared with a little water, salt, and vinegar, and if planted, each little seed begets a plant that produces a thousand more little seeds. Those facts make for a nice little analog of the powers of faith. Even if there’s no such thing as a mustard tree for birds to nest in. A little faith can go a long, long way. Amen.

  3. I loved your love letter to mustard! I’m not sure why, but it made me happy and I don’t even like mustard all that much. Perhaps your joy is infectious. A pretty good thing to be infected with, really.

  4. Thanks Ceridwen for that sweet comment! Please be infected.

    Not sure that I can think of any other condiments worth writing about. Not a huge mayonnaise fan. Maybe it’s time to consider garnishes. I usually eat the garnishes. Parsley, kale, bed of lettuce … if it’s on my plate I’m going to ingest it.

  5. Mustard is good, but too much garlic is not enough.

  6. Ahhh, there is no such thing as too much garlic good sir.

  7. And I am wondering how you did that, those little yellow stickers that pop up where the text is red. Now how could that be done. What could that be. There must be a way. What the hell? I have never seen that. Nobody else does it And it comes up even if you don’t click! Like that damned snapfish ad that covers up everybody’s pictures. Now how..

    I thought it was not mustard, but a pepper corn. Maybe that was the German text, to avoid “Send” = mustard which in German also means “bull” in the sense of platitudinous talk.

  8. snot-bringing eye-watering power of any wasabi, horseradish,

    trying to see

  9. ¿¿¿

    don’t know how this happened! Sorry. Should have tried it out on my blog.

  10. Not sure what your web browser may have been doing. Maybe one of the links in this post misbehaved on your system. The link to trybecca’s post still works, but this post of hers is all photos of a Horrible Wasabi Accident. Are you able to download photos without trouble?

  11. I took a snippet from your code and placed it in a comment form. Then I took that snippet to my own blog and then came back to get the complete code of this post to see how you had done this.

    At Google’s I found that this is java and is called a mouseover. I also googled for some code and tried it out and strange things happened.

  12. OK, now I understand what you’re talking about.

    Those popup text fields are optional. When you make a hyperlink in your post the “Insert/edit link” window has a field at the bottom called “Title”. Any text entered there appears in the rollover popup. No coding necessary if you’re using WordPress’ editing/writing interface to create your posts.

  13. Just as I was having a grand time figuring things out. I do hope it is not as easy as you say, because now, after various hours, I have just got it to quote about the kingdom, but without the dude.

  14. I also went to see what you call a terrible Wasabi accident. I do not know this type of food, but judging from the expectant schadenfreude on the other girl’s face, it must be something like cayenne pepper.

  15. Sushi is a wonderful Japanese food that is usually enjoyed with a mixture of the green wasabi paste and soy sauce. I love that schadenfreude (thanks for using that word cantueso ;-)) expression on Becca’s friend’s face.

    Wasabi is another brassica family member which has all the mouth burning power of cayenne (peppers are nightshades) but additionally fumigates one’s sinuses.

    And of course it really was no accident, since becca’s expression in the 3rd photo is clearly one of childish bravado. In picture 5 she shows the camera just how much fire she was preparing to consume.

  16. Who will eat all that mustard? Can you export it? Or do you know how to process it? And process all the other vegetables? Your winter is rather long. When the snow finally melts, do you have to plant everything all at once? Do you work in 24 hour shifts? With a winter lasting way into April, you could not have any orange trees there. Lemon and orange trees blossom all year round and their fruit ripens all year round.

    (There aren’t any here, but many people told me, and the orange flower has a most beautiful name of Arab origin: Azahar.)

    Yes our growing season is short here in the northern latitudes. 4 or 5 months. In Florida you would find citrus trees, but not here in New Hampshire. I do know people who have such things in their greenhouses or sunrooms.

    We eat the mustard greens during the summer and I harvest the seeds when the plants have died and begun to dry out. In a later post I believe there is a photo of the seeds after being winnowed. I soak them in water, add a little vinegar and salt, then grind them up in the blender to make prepared mustard, which is usually quite spicy, like a dijon.

    Azahar is a beautiful name, isn’t it? Thanks 🙂

  17. Hi Dave,

    I know it may be awhile or might not respond, but I would like to ask you for some Burgonde mustard seeds. If you can spare them. I can’t find them anywhere! On a mission, thanks.

    I will email you Christina. Please see previous comment regarding my confidence that the seeds I now have are indeed that variety.

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