Wild Mustard Creates Beautiful Views and Tastes Good, Too

Wild mustard makes for a beautiful sea of yellow.

Wild mustard makes for a beautiful sea of yellow. Photo: Julia Gaudinski

Thanks to the plentiful El Nino rains, the hills of California are greening up. But in many places, they are yellowing up, too. This is thanks to wild mustard, which you might have had in several forms for dinner last night. “Mustard” is the common name of the plant family known as Brassicaceae or Cruciferae, also called the cabbage family or crucifers. Cruciferae is the older name for the family and refers to the cross shape that is made by the four petals of their flowers. The wild yellow-flowered mustard you see while driving is from either the genus Brassica or Sinapis, and these two genera form the basis for most commercial mustard crops.

Wild mustard grows like a weed.

Wild mustard is also a weed that grows in disturbed areas and fallow fields. There are many types of mustard, but this one is most likely Brassica juncea. Photo: Julia Gaudinski

Mustard has been a very important part of the human diet since at least the Bronze Age. The sharp flavor of the seeds offers a unique opportunity to spice up our foods. Although it is native to western Europe, the Mediterranean, and temperate Asia, it has been spread by spice traders and conquering armies all over the world. In modern times, it is considered more important than all other spices except salt and pepper. It’s quite possible that you had black, brown, or white mustard seasoning your food in some way last night.

Read the rest of the story to learn how several parts of your dinner might have hailed from the mustard family, at mobileranger.com.

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Julia Gaudinski

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