Why That Bottle of Spicy Mustard Sauce Deserves a Spot in your Pantry.

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Published: 17th June 2015
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Mention the word mustard and the image of a deli-hotdog sandwich immediately pops up into mind. It wasn't exactly a favorite condiment in the house, no thanks to its pungent and tangy taste. But as you learn things along the way, it came to my attention that mustard seeds are known to be very healthy for the human body. Hence, the oils or sauces made from these seeds may have several therapeutic health benefits.

Gourmet mustards, as they are famously marketed, are made from the seeds of a mustard plant which is a vegetable related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. While there are approximately forty different varieties of mustard plants, there are three principal types commonly used for culinary purposes namely:

• Black Mustard (brassica nigra) – a round hard seed, smaller and much more pungent.
• White Mustard (brassica alba) – milder than their black counterpart, usually yellow in color, and are the ones used to make American yellow mustard.
• Brown Mustard (brassica juncea) – dark yellow in color, has a pungent acrid taste and is the type used to make Dijon mustard.

This incredible condiment can be used in its whole seed form, as a ground powder or grinding it into a smooth paste. To make flavors interesting, people came up with spices to add into its paste such as pepper, garlic, and paprika, along with a dash of salt. Research has it that there is no part of the mustard plant that cannot be utilized. Although less preferred than its most popular counterparts like ketchup, mayo and butter, the mustard has proven to be versatile in the kitchen.

Many supermarket shelves now carry lines of prepared mustard ranging from the mild yellow variety (favorite for hotdogs) to Dijon and Bordeaux mustards which derive their distinct flavors from the French wines they are made with. There are also hot mustards which are peppery and brown such as English, Dusseldorf, German and Bahamian. American horseradish mustard is also particularly spicy.

I’ve gathered several good reasons worth looking into why that bottled spicy mustard sauce, or any gourmet mustard for that matter, deserves a spot in your pantry for future culinary endeavors:

1. It is an excellent source of magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure and migraine attacks.
2. Its seeds contain phytonutrients that help prevent the risk of developing gastrointestinal cancer. It is also good for the overall health of the digestive tract.
3. It has the capacity to increase the body's metabolic rate that is not only beneficial for the body, but also eases the process of digestion. A good choice for condiment for weight watchers.
4. Some studies have shown that the anti-inflammatory compounds in yellow mustard are able to prevent Alzheimer's disease.
5. It is also a great source of calcium, phosphorous, manganese and iron. As such, it is a valuable source of several nutrients that are essential for a well-functioning body.

Whether it's easy healthy recipes for dinner or any meal of the day that you're preparing, including this particular ingredient should be a breeze. You can rub bottled mustard on meats before roasting, or bake some chicken breast marinated in it with white wine for some added flavor. It can also double as a dip for your favorite snacks, including vegetables and whole grain pretzels. Mustard seeds, on the other hand, are sprinkled over salads and can even be roasted on a dry skillet for nuttier texture. With a growing market for gourmet mustard these days, it's still best to exercise caution and avoid those with high preservatives and sodium content. Use it in moderation according to your taste. After all, they are meant to enhance and not overpower the flavor of your food.

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