Can You Eat the Flowers of Mustard?
Mustard, cabbage, broccoli, and turnips all belong to the same family, and therefore its flowers are edible. You can eat all the wild mustards, but the flavor may vary from one mustard to another. Green, young, and tender mustards are more succulent, but older leaves might become too strong to taste.
The plant bears little yellow flowers with a unique shape that resembles a Maltese cross. It has four petals that form around a central stamen. The most notable taste of mustard flowers is similar to broccoli rabe.
Most of them have a sharp mustard flavor with varying spice levels depending on the mustard type; black mustard is the spiciest. Due to its strong flavor, you only need a little amount to spice up your food.
What Do You Do with Mustard Flowers?
Flowers from mustard can be used as food in many forms. Some people toss the fresh mustard flowers into salads for peppery pizzas. You can also crush the dry ones to use as a spice in food to substitute for saffron spices.
Here are some fantastic mustard flower recipes:
1. Egg and avocado toast with wild mustard flower
The yellow mustard flowers add a peppery flavor to the egg York and creamy avocado in this recipe.
- ½ ripe avocado
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- Lemon juice to taste
- Kosher salt
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 1 slice of bread
- White wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of mustard flowers
- Peel the avocado and mash it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, vinegar, and pepper
- Peel the hard-boiled egg and cut it across into slices with a 1/4-inch thickness
- Toast the slice of bread and spread the avocado on top, then follow with the egg slices
- Drizzle a bit of vinegar, salt and pepper sprinkle, and the yellow mustard flowers.
- Serve immediately
2. Potato salad with fennel, mustard flowers, and greens
- 2 pounds of purple fingerling potatoes
- 2 teaspoons of salt or enough to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil or more if necessary
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- A handful of mustard flowers
- 2 cups of bite-size cut mustard greens
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1 cup sliced baby fennel fronds
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- Boil the potatoes until they are tender but not mushy
- Let them cool down, then cut into big bite-size chunks
- Transfer them into a large bowl, then add the olive oil, vinegar, pepper, and salt
- Toss to coat them. Add fennel and mustard greens
- Sprinkle the mustard flowers on top, then serve chilled or at room temperature
Which Other Parts of Mustard Plant Are Edible?
Mustard has three primary uses in the kitchen: excellent spice or condiment, a vegetable, or a flavoring agent. Besides the flowers, the leaves and seeds of mustard are also edible.
The leaves are nutritious and contain significant properties that serve health purposes. Research reveals that mustard green leaves have more vitamin A than ordinary spinach and a higher level of vitamin C than oranges.
The various mustard greens add a bitter, spicy flavor to any food. Adding mustard greens to your daily diet is simple; you can choose to eat them raw, stir-fry, boil, or steam. They make a versatile top-up to soups, stews, and salads, and they have a sharper, radish-like flavor.
Mustard seeds are edible in various forms.
- You can steep them in warm milk,
- Soak them to make a mustard paste,
- Whisk them into salad dressing,
- Use them in ground form
- Sprinkle on top of warm meals.
Mustard paste is the most popular way of consuming mustard seeds. It is a low-calorie, easy way of adding iron, selenium, calcium, and phosphorous to your diet. Pressing mustard seeds produce essential mustard oil that is useful in several ways.
Mustard Plant Uses
The mustard plant has excellent medicinal uses besides food. Since time immemorial, different cultures have used mustard green leaves for health benefits like the following.
- Antiseptic and disinfectant for healing open wounds
- Diuretic for boosting kidney functioning
- Detoxifying agent for purifying and strengthening the blood and also treating sore throats and coughs
Health benefits of the mustard plant
Mustard leaves are rich in essential minerals and vitamins that the body requires and stay healthy and function effectively. A single serving of it provides the body with almost half the daily vitamin C requirement.
Cooking the leaves gives the body a complete daily requirement of vitamin A. The vitamin A from mustard leaves promotes proper lung, heart, and kidney health and function.
- Lowering risks of chronic diseases
Mustard greens are a rich source of phytonutrients which are plant antioxidants that protect cells from damage and stress.
Cell damage might result from free radicals that the body collects from the environment, lifestyle behaviors, and aging. These antioxidants boost the body’s immune defense and fight chronic diseases. The following are some diseases mustards can fight.
- Autoimmune disorders
- Heart problems
- Cognitive decline
- Alleviating pain
Alpha-linolenic acid in mustard oil helps reduce inflammation and pain that results from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Be careful not to prolong its use as it may cause significant skin burns.
- Slows down the growth of cancer cells
Researchers suggest that mustard oil can minimize the growth and spread of various cancer cells.
- Supporting heart health
Mustard contains monounsaturated fatty acids similar to those found in plant-based oils, nuts, and seeds. These unsaturated fatty acids have several health benefits, especially with heart complications.
- Boosting skin and hair health
Pure mustard oil is excellent in optimizing skin and hair health when you apply it topically. People add it to homemade hair treatment products and face masks. If you mix mustard oil with wax, it helps heal cracked heels. Some communities like Bangladesh use it as a massage oil to strengthen newborns’ skin barriers. There is evidence from users that mustard oil improves wrinkles and fine lines and boosts hair growth.
Mustard Trees vs. Mustard Plants
Some white mustard seeds grow into large and tall mustard trees, while others grow into smaller leafy mustard plants. Some mustard plants are annual, and they can grow up to 6 feet tall in a garden. Please note that a mustard bush is a different plant altogether, native to Africa. It is mainly food for livestock in Africa and provides excellent medicinal properties. It is not suitable for a typical home garden.
Here are some differences between a mustard tree and a mustard plant.
|Mustard tree||Mustard plant|
|It grows from the black mustard seeds.||It grows from the white mustard seeds|
|The tree has a wide-growing nature as it can grow up to 12 to 20 feet and develop many branches.||It grows into a short leafy plant that sometimes is mistaken for a bush due to its size and shape.|
|The tree has a longer maturity period of up to and beyond 95 days.||The mustard plant has a shorter maturity duration of up to 80 days.|
|A mustard tree is wild and grows untendered.||The plant can be grown and cared for in a home garden.|
|The tree has an irregular shape, with branches sometimes growing to touch the ground.||The plant can be trimmed to attain the appropriate shape.|
The flowers and seeds of both mustard trees and mustard plants are edible.
Wild Mustard Poisonous Lookalike
Some wild flowering plants resemble wild mustard and are poisonous to humans and livestock. The best news is that it is easy to identify and forage for mustard flowers. The small clusters of yellow blooms appear on upright stems that branch at the top. The leaves and lower sections of the stem have stiff hairs. You can quickly identify wild mustard flowers from a distance.
How To Grow Mustard Plants
Mustard is an annual plant native to Europe, Persia, and the tropical regions of north Africa, but it is widely spread to different parts of the world. Many gardeners love the mustard plant because it is to grow and can tolerate almost any soil type and conditions. It takes about five to ten days to germinate.
- It grows about 2 to 8 feet tall
- Mustards can survive almost anywhere, but they appreciate best moist, loose, well-draining loamy soil with a nearly neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.0
- It is best suitable for USDA zones 4 to 7
- It flourishes in full sun exposure and cannot survive in shade
- Watering depends on the weather as long as the soil remains consistently moist
- Under the right conditions, it displays bright yellow blooms from March to June
What Is the Mustard Family?
Mustard belongs to the family Brassicaceae, alternatively known as Cruciferae; the name Cruciferae comes from the cross-shape of the flower parts. All members of this family grow as biennia or annual, with a few exceptional perennials. The plants have simple, alternate leaves that can sometimes be lobed.
They produce radially symmetrical flowers with both male and female parts. They have four sepals and four petals, but the sepals are often shed earlier. The flower has six stamens. They bear seed pods with two valves which in some may split and release seeds while others do not split.