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All About Mustard Seeds | Know Your Fine Spice Sarson or Rai

All About Mustard (सरसों) | Know Your Fine Spice Sarson (Brassica nigra)

Know more about Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra)

Mustard | mustard seeds | sarson (सरसों) | rai (राई)

Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) is known both as oilseed as well as spice. Internationally, however, it is more popular as a spice. It is also called Spice of Nations because it is so universal.

The three varieties of mustard are all members of the Brassicaceae (the mustard family).

Brassica hirta, white or yellow seeds, and Brassica nigra, black mustard are both indigenous to southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Brassica juncea or brown mustard is indigenous to the northern Himalayas. Mustard grows easily in temperate climates and is cultivated all over the world today.

Pungent and flavourful, mustard has remained an important condiment throughout the ages. It is available in whole seeds, as a powder, or “flour,” and, most popular, as a prepared paste.

What are the vernacular names for Mustard?

The names of Mustard or rai in international languages are given below.

Indian Languages International Languages
Hindi: Kali rai (काली राई), Kali sarson (काली सरसों), Lal sarson (लाल सरसों), Rai (राई), Sarson (सरसों)
Assamese: Behar (বেহাৰ), Horiyah (হৰিয়হ), Xoriyah (সৰিয়হ)
Kalo sorse (কালো সরষে), Rai sorse (রাই সরষে), Sorsa (সরষা)
Sajya ()
Rai (રાઇ)
Kannada: Sasive (ಸಾಸಿವೆ)
Ausur (آسور), Assour (آسر)
: Kadu (കടു), Kadugu (കടുക്)
Manipuri: Hamgam (ꯍꯪꯒꯥꯝ)
Marathi: Mohari (मोहरी)
Mizo: Antram
Oriya: Sorissa (ସୋରିଷ)
Rai (ਰਾਈ)
Krishnika (कृष्णिका), Krishnasarshapa (कृष्णसर्षप), Rajasarshapa (राजसर्षप)
Kadugu (கடூகூ)
Avalu (ఆవాలు)
Latin (Botanical): Brassica nigra
Arabic: Khardal (خَرْدَل), Khardal aswad (خَرْدَل أَسْوَد)
Bulgarian: Sinap cheren (Синап черен)
Gaai choi (芥菜)
Zwarte mosterd, Junceamosterd, Sareptamosterd
Farsi: Khardel (خردل), Khardel siyah (خردل سیاه)
Moutarde noire, Moutarde brune, Moutarde de l’Inde, Moutarde de Chine
German: Schwarzer Senf, Braunsenf
Greek: Napy (Νᾶπυ), Sinapi (Σίναπι)
Italian: Senape nera
Japanese: Kuro-garashi (クロガラシ), Burakku-masutado (ブラックマスタード)
Portuguese: Mostarda (preta)
Mostaza negra, Mostaza de Indias
: Brunsenap, Svartsenap
Turkish: Kara hardal, Hardal, Siyah hardal tohum
Uzbek: Qora xantal (Қора хантал), Qora gorchitsa (Қора горчица)

What exactly is Mustard?

Get to know more about Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra)

The mustard plant is any one of several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis in the family Brassicaceae (the mustard family). Mustard seed is used as a spice.

Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar, or other liquids creates the yellow condiment known as prepared mustard.

The seeds are also pressed to make mustard oil, and the edible leaves can be eaten as mustard greens.

Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (0.039 to 0.079 in) in diameter and may be colored from yellowish white to black.

Mustard grows easily in temperate climates and is cultivated all over the world today. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs.

Mustard seeds generally take eight to ten days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil.

What is the nutritional value of Mustard?

Find out about the nutritional value of Mustard or sarson (Brassica nigra)

Mustard’s status as one of the world’s oldest savoury spices is matched by well-known folklore of its health benefits.

Mustard’s nutritional profile boasts a plentiful supply of essential minerals including calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus and zinc.

In addition to being a very good source of omega-3 fatty acids it also supplies tryptophan, phosphorus, iron and protein.

Mustard seed is an excellent source of soluble fibre & has a relatively high protein content along with a number of amino acids.

For today’s dietitian promoting healthy accoutrements to wholesome foods, mustard provides a punch with a functional and highly nutritious seed and greens.

What is the chemical composition of mustard or sarson?

Know and understand about chemical composition of a Mustard or sarson (Brassica nigra)

Mustard seeds have high-energy content, having 28–32% oil with relatively high protein content (28–36%).

Mustard oil has a special fatty acid composition & contains about 20–28% oleic acid, 10–12% linoleic, 9.0–9.5% linolenic acid & 30–40% erucic acid, that is indigestible for humans and animals.

It is rich in tocopherols, as a consequence of their antioxidant characteristic, they act as a preservative against rancidity.

What is the history of mustard or sarson?

Know more about the origins & the story behind mustard or sarson (Brassica nigra)

In the Bible, Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed referring to faith and the Kingdom of God.

There, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

There are references to mustard seeds in India from a story of Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BC. Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving mother (Kisa Gotami) and the mustard seed.

When a mother loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. When the mother is unable to find such a house in her village, she realizes death is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief.

In Hinduism, the reference of a mustard seed is given in ancient texts called Upanishads to explain the duality of a person’s self and the relationship of self with the universe.

It is stated that if an individual were to pick a single mustard seed every hundred years from a seven-mile cube worth of mustard seeds, then by the time the last seed is picked, the age of the world cycle would still continue.

According to the Hadith, Muhammad said that he who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride would not enter Paradise.

Archaeological excavations in the Indus Valley (Indian Subcontinent) have revealed that mustard was cultivated there. That civilization existed until about 1850 BC.

The Romans were probably the first to experiment with preparation of mustard as a condiment. Wealthy Romans made mustard fresh at the dinner table, by grinding the seeds on their plates.

 They mixed unfermented grape juice (the must) with ground mustard seeds (called sinapis) to make “burning must”, mustum ardens — hence “must ard”

The Egyptians tossed the seeds onto their food, and sent King Tut to the great beyond with a goodly supply in his tomb.

The Sumerians ground it into a paste and mixed it with verjus, the juice of unripe grapes.

The Gaul monks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris raised mustard making to an art.

The first record of mustard makers on the royal registers in Paris dates back to 1292. Dijon became the mustard epicenter because a mustard-loving Pope needed a sinecure for his lazy nephew.

Pope John XXll of Avignon created the position of “Grand Moustardier du Pape” or the Grand Mustard-Maker to the Pope for his idle nephew who lived near Dijon.

In 1877, one of the most famous Dijon mustard makers, Grey Poupon, was established as a partnership between Maurice Grey, a mustard maker with a unique recipe containing white wine; and Auguste Poupon, his financial backer.

Their success was aided by the use of the first automatic mustard-making machine. Due to its long tradition of mustard making, Dijon is today regarded as the mustard capital of the world.

The early use of mustard as a condiment in England is attested from the year 1390 in the book The Forme of Cury which was written by King Richard II‘s master cooks.

How are black and yellow or white mustard seeds different?

What is the difference between black and yellow or white mustard seeds?

Black Mustard Seeds (Rai) Yellow or White Mustard Seeds (Sarson)
Scientific Name Brassica nigra Brassica hirta
Spice Origin Asia Europe
Spice Size Round & smaller (1 – 2 mm in diameter) Round & small (upto 2 mm dia­meter)
Colour Dark brown to black White or yellow
Flavour Strong pungent flavour Milder flavour
Predominant Usage Widely used in Asia, especially India Widely used in the USA & Europe
Pods 20 Seeds 8 Seeds

Why is black mustard more expensive than yellow mustard?

Why is yellow mustard cheaper than black mustard?

Not only are black mustard seeds exceedingly pungent; they’re also difficult to harvest, volatile and thus more expensive. On the other hand, yellow mustard seeds are easily picked by machines.

The black mustard seeds are handpicked making their process of harvesting more labor-intensive and hence more expensive.

What are the uses of mustard or sarson?

How is mustard or sarson (Brassica nigra) used?

  • Mustard is most often used at the table as a condiment on cold and hot meats.
  • In Indian cooking yellow and dark brown mustard seeds are more commonly used but black seeds contain a higher proportion of the volatile mustard oil and strongest flavour.
  • As a condiment, mustard is sold in three forms: as seeds, as dry powder and prepared as a paste.
  • Mustard plasters were formerly used in medicine for their counterirritant properties in treating chest colds and other ailments.
  • Brown mustard, which is related to rapeseed, is grown as a source of vegetable oil and is an important crop for this purpose in northern India, Pakistan, China, southern Russia, and Kazakhstan.
  • The oil is used for food or for industrial purposes, with the residual cake used for animal feed.
  • Mustard leaves are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat.
  • The mustard plant has been used as a traditional remedy against various ailments for centuries.

What does mustard taste like?

What is the taste of mustard or sarson?

Yellow mustard seeds are pretty mellow-tasting, a little spicy and slightly sweet. It has a mild heat and bright acidity. The brown and black seeds are significantly hotter with a bitter flavour.

How much mustard or sarson should I use?

What is the recommended quantity of mustard or sarson for a day?

Mustard is usually consumed in small amounts but consistently. While it may not be possible to intake 2 tablespoons recommended daily allowance (RDA) of mustard daily, it will deliver results over time.

2 tablespoons of mustard has only 18.8 calories and delivers 13 percent of the RDA of selenium, 6 percent of the RDA of manganese, 2 percent of the RDA of calcium and 6 percent of the RDA of thiamin.

What are the ayurvedic properties of mustard or sarson?

Information about ayurvedic details of Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra).

Mustard seed or sarson or rai is used in Ayurveda for both external application and oral use, in treating worm infestation, pruritus (itching), psychiatric disorders, low digestion strength and more.

Guna (Qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Snigdha (oily, unctuousness)
Rasa (Taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Vipaka (taste conversion after digestion) –  Katu (Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot)
Effects on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha. Increases Pitta Dosha.

What can I use Mustard for?

Learn how to use Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) in your food & beverages.

  • Mustard is most often used at the table as a condiment on cold and hot meats.
  • In Indian cooking yellow and dark brown mustard seeds are more commonly used but black seeds contain a higher proportion of the volatile mustard oil and strongest flavour.
  • The larger yellow variety, known as white mustard are much less pungent. Powdered mustard has no aroma when dry, but a hot flavour is released when it is mixed with water.
  • In eastern part of India oil extracted from mustard seeds is used as cooking oil. The Bengalis and the Oriya communities relish their fish, meat and vegetables cooked in mustard oil.
  • It is also main ingredient of Kasundi a popular mustard sauce, which is used in sandwiches and burgers.
  • In Northern part of India, mustard leaves are eaten as Sarson ka Saag, popularly known as Punjabi Sarson da Saag.
  • In Maharashtra, it is called as mohari, and is used frequently in Maharashtrian recipes.
  • Rai or Sarson seeds are used more in South Indian than in North Indian cooking. In the South, it is typically combined with green chilies and curry leaves in a tadka.
  • The seeds can be put whole into very hot oil and popped to season the oil. Raw food can be cooked in this flavoured oil or it can be poured over some dishes as a tadka just before serving.
  • Mustard helps emulsify liquids use in salad dressing recipes to help blend oil and vinegar and add a spicy zip.
  • Mustards seeds are a popular addition to dishes such as vegetable, beans, pastries and pickles.
  • It is also used as an ingredient in mayonnaise, vinaigrette, marinades, and barbecue sauce.
  • It is also a popular accompaniment to hot dogs, pretzels, and bratwurst.
  • In the Netherlands and northern Belgium, it is commonly used to make mustard soup, which includes mustard, cream, parsley, garlic, and pieces of salted bacon.

A Few Recipes that Use Mustard or Sarson

How do I prepare mustard for eating?

Learn how to prepare Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) for your food & beverages.

  • Mustard greens can be eaten raw or cooked–steamed, sautéed, or simmered.
  • Black mustard are kept whole and fried (or toasted) before adding to a dish or including in a stir-fry along with other aromatic ingredients.
  • White mustard seeds can be toasted to add to dishes or used for pickling.
  • For Indian curries or recipes calling for mustard, saute the seeds in oil until they pop and cook along with the other ingredients.

Can I use all parts of mustard?

What parts of Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) plant are used for food & beverages.

Mustard seeds and leaves of mustard plant are primarily used for culinary purposes. The seed of this oil is also used to extract the mustard oil that can be used to prepare food items.

How long does mustard seeds last?

Learn about how long does mustard seeds or sarson (Brassica nigra) last in storage.

Properly stored, mustard seed will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 4 years. Packaged mustard seed does not spoil, but it will start to lose potency over time.

How do I store mustard seeds?

Learn about how to store mustard seeds or sarson (Brassica nigra).

Mustard seeds should be stored below 18˚C and, for safe storage, should be kept as cool as possible, perhaps in a refrigerator.

Heat and moisture will lead to its deterioration, so store your mustard seeds in a cool and dry place.

So, store the whole mustard seeds in airtight containers in a cool, dry place up to two years; ground and powdered mustard up to six months. In fact, to extend their shelf life, keep them in a fridge.

Homemade mustard powder

Is there a substitute for mustard seeds or sarson?

Learn how to use a substitute for Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) if unavailable

If the recipe you want to make calls for Mustard but you don’t have any, don’t worry. Here are some best substitutes for Mustard or sarson.

  • WasabiUse Wasabi to increase the heat. Substitute mustard seeds with a smaller amount of wasabi to add heat to your dish.
  • Caraway Seeds – Use caraway seeds for a similar flavor. It has a similar flavor to that of mustard seeds. You can substitute it with the same quantity for mustard seeds in your recipe.
  • Use Mustard VariationsMustard paste, kasundi, mustard powder are some easily available products.

Where do I buy mustard or sarson from?

Where to Locate Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) in a Grocery Store?

You can find mustard seeds in the spices section of a grocery store. If you are outside India, you will find them at an Indian specialty store in your city.

Buy mustard or sarson based products on Amazon: India | USA

What are the health benefits of Mustard ?

Learn more about health benefits of Mustard or sarson (Brassica nigra)

There are significant health benefits of Mustard seeds. Mustard seeds have been around since almost 5,000 years. They are low in calories and high in nutritional value and have a lot of antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

  1. Health benefits of Mustard seeds in cancer treatment – The presence of compounds like glucosinolates and mirosinase in mustard seeds are known to use phytochemicals to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. This is definitely one of the major mustard seeds health benefits.
  2. Health benefits of Rai or Mustard Seeds in rheumatic arthritis – Mustard seeds are a source of relief for people having rheumatic arthritis. The selenium and magnesium content in it helps in providing relief from this problem.
  3. Benefits of Mustard seeds for migraine – Migraine occurrence also reduces owing to the magnesium content present in the mustard seed. A little touch of mustard to your fish can boost the constituting omega-3 content as well.
  4. Health benefits of Mustard or Rai in Psoriasis – Mustard seeds are effective for psoriasis and critical inflammatory autoimmune diseases. The conclusion proved its usefulness for treatment of inflammation and wounds associated with psoriasis.
  5. Health benefits of Mustard seeds Dermatitis – Mustard seeds are helpful for therapeutic healing in contact dermatitis. The studies concludes that utilisation of its seeds supports in treating the effects associated to contact dermatitides such as treating tissues and subdual swelling in ear.
  6. Health Benefits of Rai or Mustard Seeds in Cardiovascular Problems – Mustard oil is healthy when it comes to use cooking oil. Research has shown the outcome on patients with heart attack with greater results with outcome of lowering the chances of cardiac arrest, lowering in ventricular enlargement and chest pain associated to the diseases.
  7. Health benefits of Mustard seeds as a detoxifying agent – Mustard seeds contain preventative properties that help to repel symptoms of toxicity in human body. The seeds concoction aids in emptying body mainly in toxin produced by drugs abuse and excess consumption of alcohol.
  8. Health Benefits of Rai or Mustard Seeds for diabetics – Research has shown those medications of mustard oil supports to lower level of proteins and other glucose. It assists to lower peroxide activity and triggers healthy metabolism. Leaves of mustard are helpful for diabetic patients.
  9. Health Benefits of Mustard Seeds for Skin Hydration – Mustard seeds, combined with aloe vera gel, can behave as an excellent mixture to hydrate the skin. It eliminates all impurities through the face as well as feeds it from inside.
  10. Benefits of Rai as an Antioxidant – Mustard seeds result in a great resource of carotene as well as lutein. Additionally it is an excellent power houses of vitamin A, C and K. Together these types of nutrients allow for a great antioxidant.

Mustard Powder - Homemade Mustard Powder from Yellow Mustard Seeds

Mustard Powder - Homemade Mustard Powder from Yellow Mustard Seeds - You can use this mustard powder in your Sandwiches, Wraps, Burgers. You can even use it to make Pickles, Chutney, Salad Dressing, Mayonnaise, Vinaigrette or Barbecue Sauce.
Course Condiment, Spice Powders, Spices
Cuisine World
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword Homemade Mustard Powder, Make Mustard Powder, Mustard, Mustard Seeds
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 25 Servings
Calories 1kcal


  • 1 cup Yellow Mustard Seeds
  • 0.25 teaspoon Turmeric Powder


  • Toast your yellow mustard seeds for 20 seconds in a dry skillet.
  • Cool the seeds, then transfer to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse until you have a powder.
  • Pass the powder through a sieve to remove the hulls.
  • Blend a pinch or two of turmeric or saffron with the mustard to create the bright yellow associated with the condiment.


  • You can make this without turmeric or saffron, however, the colour will not be as yellow.
  • Whole seeds have little aroma, and have to be ground and activated with water for the flavours to awaken and bloom.
  • Mix with flour to create a Ground Mustard Flour to use as a preservative in pickling and chutney recipes.
  • Added with herbs like tarragon, basil or mint for a cool flavour.
  • Blend with water prior to adding to recipes or even mix with other spices like pepper or chiles.

Health benefits of mustard seeds or rai

What are the side effects of mustard or sarson?

What are the risks associated with Mustard or sarson?

Mustard oil may pose a serious risk because it contains high levels of erucic acid which may cause heart issues. It’s because of this culinary use of mustard oil is banned in the USA & Canada.

However, it is still unclear whether it is actually harmful, but high levels of erucic acid could pose risks to certain groups, such as children.

In 2016, the FDA issued a warning that mustard oil is not safe to use in cooking because of its high erucic acid content.

This means that the FDA does not permit its use as a cooking medium in the United States.


All About Mustard or Sarson | Uses & Benefits of Sarson

Mustard | mustard seeds | sarson (सरसों) | rai (राई)

Mustard or Sarson (Brassica nigra) is known both as oilseed as well as spice. Internationally, however, it is more popular as a spice. It is also called Spice of Nations because it is so universal.

The three varieties of mustard are all members of the Brassicaceae (the mustard family).

Brassica hirta, white or yellow seeds, and Brassica nigra, black mustard are both indigenous to southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Brassica juncea or brown mustard is indigenous to the northern Himalayas. Mustard grows easily in temperate climates and is cultivated all over the world today.

Pungent and flavourful, mustard has remained an important condiment throughout the ages. It is available in whole seeds, as a powder, or “flour,” and, most popular, as a prepared paste.


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This article is for general information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition/s. has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but offers no warranty as to its accuracy or its use in any possible form.

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