Mustard seeds, also known as ‘sarso', are one of the most commonly used ingredients in Indian kitchens. This popular ingredient is widely used in a number of dishes for its flavour and medicinal properties. They come loaded with magnesium and are a good source of dietary fibres that improve digestion in the body. These tiny seeds are available in white, brown and black varieties and used by people all over the world. However, when it comes to buying mustard seeds, a lot of people face problems with its texture, colour and quality. The author of the book ‘Healing Spices', Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, researcher at Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research at the University of Chicago, lists down some easy ways to buy mustard seeds. Read on to know more about them:
1. Here's the rule of thumb when it comes to mustards seeds; the smaller and darker, the hotter. Black seeds taste sharp with a nutty aftertaste. Whereas, brown seeds are sweeter and mellower than black ones. White seeds have a subtle flavour.
2. White mustard seeds and dry mustard are readily available in any well-stocked market. The seeds are sold whole, crushed, or ground. Brown mustard seeds are hard to come by, but you can find them in Indian and Asian markets and online. Black mustard seeds are hard to find because they are not in wide-scale productions. (Black mustard seeds are difficult to harvest because they are so small.)
3. Whole mustard seeds are quite stable and will keep for three years. It's not essential to keep them away from heat, but do keep them dry. Prepared mustards come in seemingly infinite variety, with a wide range of heat. So, when you're buying prepared mustard, avoid bottles that show signs of separation (a film on vinegar floating on top). For the best flavour, keep prepared mustard at room temperature.
Note: Various culinary experts have trouble distinguishing black from brown seeds, because brown seeds are very dark brown, with a subtle deep red tinge. However, it doesn't matter; brown seeds are a suitable substitute for black in any recipe.
So, the next time you go for grocery shopping, bring these easy tips to your rescue to buy mustard seeds.