Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods and may come from one of three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (B. juncea), or white/yellow mustard (B. hirta/Sinapis alba).
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,126 kJ (508 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||12.2 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.|
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults. |
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Mustard seeds are used as a spice in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The seeds are usually fried until they pop. The leaves are also stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable. In Maharashtra, mustard oil is used for body massage during extreme winters, as it is thought to keep the body warm. In Bengali cuisine mustard oil or shorsher tel is the predominant cooking medium. Mustard seeds are also essential ingredients in spicy fish dishes like jhaal and paturi. A variety of Indian pickles consisting mainly of mangoes, red chili powder, and powdered mustard seed preserved in mustard oil are popular in southern India.
Mustard seeds generally take eight to ten days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs.
Mustard grows well in temperate regions. Major producers of mustard seeds include India, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Great Britain and the United States. Brown and black mustard seeds return higher yields than their yellow counterparts.
In Pakistan, rapeseed-mustard is the second most important source of oil, after cotton. It is cultivated over an area of 307,000 hectares with an annual production of 233,000 tonnes and contributes about 17% to the domestic production of edible oil.
Mustard seeds are a rich source of oil and protein. The seed has oil as high as 46-48%, and whole seed meal has 43.6% protein.
|* = Unofficial figure | [ ] = Official data | A = May include official, semi-official or estimated data|
F = FAO estimate | Im = FAO data based on imputation methodology | M = Data not available
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
In the Bible, Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed referring to faith and the Kingdom of God. There, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade."
There are references to mustard seeds in India from a story of Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BC. Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving mother (Kisa Gotami) and the mustard seed. When a mother loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. When the mother is unable to find such a house in her village, she realizes death is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief. In Hinduism, the reference of a mustard seed is given in ancient texts called Upanishads to explain the duality of a person's self and the relationship of self with the universe. It is stated that if an individual were to pick a single mustard seed every hundred years from a seven-mile cube worth of mustard seeds, then by the time the last seed is picked, the age of the world cycle would still continue. (If a mustard seed is 3 mm (0.12 in) in diameter, then taking one seed every 100 years from a seven-mile cube of seeds would take 936 quintillion years, 68 billion times the age of the universe.)[original research?]
Jewish texts compare the knowable universe to the size of a mustard seed to demonstrate the world's insignificance and to teach humility. The Jewish philosopher Nachmanides mentions the universe expanded from the time of its creation, in which it was the size of a mustard seed.
The mustard seed is mentioned in the Quran: "And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant (21:47)"  and also "[And Luqman said], "O my son, indeed if wrong should be the weight of a mustard seed and should be within a rock or [anywhere] in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Indeed, Allah is Subtle and Acquainted (31:16)."
Mustard seed is mentioned several times in the writings of the Báb, where it signifies a thing of insignificance. In the Persian Bayán, He states: "There is no paradise, in the estimation of the believers in the Divine Unity, more exalted than to obey God’s commandments, and there is no fire in the eyes of those who have known God and His signs, fiercer than to transgress His laws and to oppress another soul, even to the extent of a mustard seed." In one of His prayers, He makes mention of a tiny fraction of a mustard seed to signify the importance of the object in the statement: "All that I beg of Thee, O my God, is to enable me, ere my soul departeth from my body, to attain Thy good-pleasure, even were it granted to me for a moment tinier than the infinitesimal fraction of a mustard seed." Several more mentions are made in other places.
- "Pulses and Special Crops > Pulses and Special Crops > Producers". Agr.gc.ca. 20 March 2007. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- "Major Food And Agricultural Commodities And Producers - Countries By Commodity". Fao.org. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Mark 4 - The Parable of the Sower". The Parable of the Sower. New International Version of the Bible. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
- Sharman, Shreshtha; Neeta Sharma. Together with English Language & Literature (Term II). p. 222. ISBN 9788181374653. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- Buddhaghosa - Buddhist legends, Volume 28 (published 1921)
- Michaelson, Jay. "The meaning of God". Learnkabbalah.com.
- Dr. Gerald Schroeder. "Your Life, Your Judaism". © 2011 Aish.com.
- Muslim, Sahih. "The Forbiddance of Pride". The Only Quran. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
- "The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Translation". corpus.quran.com.
- Báb. "Excerpts from the Persian Bayán". Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Bahá’í Reference Library.
- Báb. "Prayers and Meditations". Selections from the Writings of the Báb. Bahá’í Reference Library.
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