Grown for the mustard seeds. The plant is believed to be native to the southern Mediterranean region of Europe and possibly South Asia where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. The spice is generally made from ground seeds of the plant, with the seed coats removed. The small (1 mm) seeds are hard and vary in colour from dark brown to black. They are flavourful, although they have almost no aroma. The seeds are commonly used in Indian cuisine, for example in curry, where it is known as rai. The seeds are usually thrown into hot oil or ghee, after which they pop, releasing a characteristic nutty flavour. The seeds have a significant amount of fatty oil. This oil is used often as cooking oil in India. In Ethiopia, where it is cultivated as a vegetable in Gondar, Harar and Shewa, the shoots and leaves are consumed cooked and the seeds used as a spice. The plant itself can grow from two to eight feet tall, with racemes of small yellow flowers. These flowers are usually up to 1/3" across, with four petals each. The leaves are covered in small hairs; they can wilt on hot days, but recover at night.
Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our latest offers, growing tips and products!