There are approximately 40 varieties of mustard plants grown around the world but only 3 of these are used to produce mustard seeds - white mustard (more commonly called yellow mustard, Brassica alba), brown mustard (Brassica juncea) and black mustard (Brassica nigra). Black mustard seeds have a well-deserved reputation for their pungent spicy aroma and flavor and are a common ingredient in Indian cooking. The pungency of black mustard is more robust than of brown mustard, and is not easily found these days. Like many heirlooms, the rarity has nothing to do with flavor but rather everything to do with convenience. Unlike their yellow and brown cousins, black mustard cannot be harvested by machines which make production much more expensive. Mustard seeds have been highly prized both as a medicinal as well as culinary spice for many years. The earliest reference to mustard dates back to 500 BC in early writings from India. Black Mustard Seeds give a pleasant, complex flavor to spice blends, and are often used in Dijon mustards and whole seed deli mustards. Try them in curries and soups, and tossed with vegetables or potatoes before roasting.
SMALL FARM GROWN by Full Sky Farm, Reading, KS
A moderately frost-tolerant biennial that is easy-to-grow by direct seed or transplant in full sun or partial shade. Mustards can be succession planted in the spring, and again late summer through early fall, for a continual harvest. Using season extension allows for harvests through the winter. Plant Seeds: 1/4"deep with 1" between seeds, in rows 18"apart. Soil Temp: 60-85 F. Days to Sprout: 3-12. Thin To/Mature Plant Spacing: 4-8". Companions: beets, carrots, dill, lettuce, onion, spinach, tomato, nasturtium, cilantro. Seeds/Oz: 15,000. Seed Wt./100' Row: 1 oz. Yield/100' row: 80-100 lbs. Days to Harvest: 30-45. Seed Viability: 4-5 years.