History of Mustard as a Condiment

An article by Peggy Trowbridge Filippone 
published on
The Spruce

History of Mustard as a CondimentAs a condiment, mustard is ancient. Prepared mustard dates back thousands of years to the early Romans, who used to grind mustard seeds and mix them with wine into a paste not much different from History of Mustard as a Condimentthe prepared mustards we know today. The spice was popular in Europe before the time of the Asian spice trade. It was popular long before pepper.

The Romans took the mustard seed to Gaul, where it was planted in vineyards along with the grapes. It soon became a popular condiment. French monasteries cultivated and sold mustard as early as the ninth century, and the condiment was for sale in Paris by the 13th century.

In the 1770s, mustard took a modern turn when Maurice Grey and Antoine Poupon introduced the world to Grey Poupon Dijon mustard.

History of Mustard as a CondimentTheir original store still can be seen in downtown Dijon. 

In 1866, Jeremiah Colman, founder of Colman’s Mustard of England, was appointed as mustard-maker to Queen Victoria. Colman perfected the technique of grinding mustard seeds into a fine powder without creating the heat which brings out the oil.

The oil must not be exposed or the flavor evaporates with the oil.

Mustard Species

There are about 40 species of mustard plants. The three species that are used to make mustard are the black, brown and white mustards. White mustard, which originated in the Mediterranean, is the antecedent of the bright yellow hot dog mustard we are all familiar with. Brown mustard from the Himalayas is familiar as Chinese restaurant mustard, and it serves as the base for most European and American mustards. Black mustard originated in the Middle East and in Asia Minor, where it is still popular. Edible mustard greens are a different species of mustard. The history of cultivation of mustard centers on the seeds, not the greens, which have been credited with originating both in China and Japan.

History of Mustard as a Condiment

Mustard’s Medicinal History

Long ago, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. In the sixth century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras used mustard as a remedy for scorpion stings. A hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in medicines and poultices. Mustard plasters were applied to treat toothaches and a number of other ailments.

Mustard’s Religious History

History of Mustard as a CondimentThe mustard seed is a prominent reference for those of the Christian faith, exemplifying something that is small and insignificant, which when planted, grows in strength and power.

Pope John XII was so fond of mustard that he created a new Vatican position—grand moutardier du pape (mustard-maker to the pope—and promptly filled the post with his nephew. His nephew was from the Dijon region, which soon became the mustard center of the world.

Mustard in Modern Culture

History of Mustard as a CondimentWe all know that losers and quitters can’t cut the mustard (live up to the challenge), and perhaps the reason ballpark mustard is so popular is because pitchers apply mustard to their fastballs to get those strikeouts. The disabling and even lethal chemical weapon known as mustard gas is a synthetic copy based on the volatile nature of mustard oils.

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Honey and Mustard Sauce / Honning- og Sennepssaus

A medieval spicy sauce recipe found at cookit.e2bn.org
Medieval Monday_headingHoney and Mustard Sauce_post

Mustard was much used by the Romans and later was very popular with the Anglo Saxons. It grew locally and so was cheap. It could be used to makes sauces for meat and fish as well as dressings for salads. It helped to preserve other foods as well as having healthy properties of its own.

The sauces were generally made from a mixture of ground mustard seeds, vinegar, wine and often honey, with spices or other flavourings added according to what people liked.

They could then be stored for several weeks. Mustard’s ‘hotness’ gets less after it is mixed and kept for a few days, which may account for the strength of the sauces often made – which would be much too hot for most of us today.

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Lumbard Mustard / Lumbardisk Sennep

A fourteenth century recipe found on Let Hem Boyle
Medieval Monday_headingLumbard Mustard / Lumbardisk Sennep

saaraSaara whe runs Let Hem Boyle writes: I have to say that I love mustard! All different kinds of… it can be strong, mild, vinegary, spiced.. I do like them all. Making mustard for an event has been a plan for long time, but I haven’t done it until Midwinter Feast. This recipe is great! You can make it beforehand and store it in the fridge. It will be good stored in fridge for couple of weeks.

Take mustard seeds and waishe it and drye it in an ovene, grynde it drye. Farse it thurgh a farse. Clarifie hony with wyne and vynegur and stere it wel togedrer and make it thikke ynowz. And whan thou wilt spende thereof make it tnynne with wyne.

Original recipe from Forme of Cury, 1390

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Basic Homemade Country Mustard / Grunnleggende Hjemmelaget Landsens Sennep

An easy condiment recipw found on homecooking.about.com
Basic Homemade Country Mustard / Grunnleggende Hjemmelaget Landsens Sennep

Mustard is one of those condiments that comes in many flavors, textures, and varieties. While most Americans are all too familiar with the smooth, bright yellow store-bought varieties, it would be a shame not to experience the more complex flavors of homemade varieties. If you’re new to mustard-making, this recipe is a great place to start. This basic country mustard is a pungent, grainy, all-purpose mustard that uses both coarsely ground mustard seeds and mustard powder.

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The Christmas Recipes – Part 8

The Christmas Recipes – Part 8

3 Variations On Mustard / Sennep i 3 Utgaver
3 Variations On Mustard / Sennep i 3 Utgaver

Spicy Cranberry Jam / Krydret Tyttebærsyltetøy
Spicy Cranberry Jam / Krydret Tyttebærsyltetøy

The History of Condiments

condiments_01Since ancient times people have used condiments to enhance their food. The first condiment was salt. Salt has always been used both as a preservative and to enhance the flavor of food. Vinegar has also been used since ancient times. Its name is probably derived from the French words vin aiger meaning sour wine. (Vinegar was used as a medicine as well as a food).

The Romans liked condiments and they made many sauces for their food. One of the most common was a fish sauce called liquamen. The Romans also grew mustard and they introduced it into the parts of Europe they conquered. They also made mint sauce.

condiments_02In the Middle Ages mustard was a popular condiment in Europe. At first English mustard consisted of coarse powder and it was not very strong. However in 1720 a Mrs Clements of Durham began making a much smoother mustard powder. When mixed with water to make paste it was very hot but it proved to be popular and Durham became a center of the mustard industry. (For centuries mustard was used as a medicine as well as a food).

In the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries new condiments were invented. Pesto sauce was invented in 16th century Italy. Furthermore new sauces were invented in the 17th century including bechamel and chasseur. Chutney comes from India. It was first exported to England in the 17th century. Soy sauce, which was invented in China reached Europe in the 17th century and by the mid-18th century it was popular in Britain.

condiments_03According to one story a French chef first made mayonnaise in 1756. However there are many stories about where it comes from. Hollandaise sauce was also first recorded in the mid-18th century. Ketchup began life as a Chinese fish sauce called ke-tsiap. The name was gradually changed to ketchup and in Britain people added other ingredients instead of fish. In the 18th century they began adding tomatoes. Sauces similar to tartar sauce were made in the Middle Ages but ‘modern’ tartar sauce was first made in the 1800s

condiments_04In the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution condiments began to be mass-produced in factories. Tomato ketchup was a best seller and HP sauce was invented at the end of the 19th century. Meanwhile Worcester sauce was invented in Worcester in 1835 by John Lea and William Perrins. Horseradish sauce went on sale in bottles in the USA around 1860. Salad cream was invented in 1914.

As well as sauces people have also looked for ways to sweeten their food. Since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and probably before people have kept bees for honey. Over condiments_05the centuries honey was very valuable and it was sometimes used as a currency or it was given as a tribute to a conqueror. Since ancient times people have also made an alcoholic drink called mead from honey.

Sugar cane first grew in South Asia. Later the Arabs and Europeans grew sugar cane. At the end of the 15th century sugar cane was taken to the New World. Sugar was first made from sugar beet in the 18th century. A German chemist called Andreas Marggraf was the first person to make sugar from beet in 1747. Saccharine was invented in 1879 by Constantine Fahlberg.

Text from localhistories.org