Mustard oil is one of the oldest known cooking oils, believed to have been used in India for more than 3000 years. It is made from pressing the seeds of the mustard plant, which is a member of the Brassica family. Mustard oil offers a variety of benefits which include being a rich source of fatty acids, antioxidants and other vitamins that are good for the skin, heart and overall health.
Mustard oil is generally pale yellow or reddish in colour and has a slightly pungent or hot taste. It is widely used in cooking in India and Pakistan, as well as parts of Bangladesh, Nepal, Japan and Korea. The oil is commonly used as an ingredient in Indian curries and as a condiment in other dishes such as dhokla and chaat. Mustard oil is also used to flavour and preserve pickles, while in some areas it is used as a massage oil or even used in lamps as a form of illumination.
When shopping for mustard oil, you should look for a bottle that has a golden-yellow colour and a thick and pungent aroma. It is important to note that there are two types of mustard oils available: cold-pressed and traditional, which is mildly processed and is not recommended for cooking due to the presence of erucic acid. The cold-pressed variety is the preferred choice for cooking as it is healthier and more nutritious.
Mustard oil is packed with fatty acids that can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also high in mono-saturated fatty acids, which are linked to better blood sugar levels, helping to slow the absorption of carbohydrates. The high levels of essential fatty acids, such as linoleic and oleic acids, help to promote healthy skin, hair and nails.
Mustard oil contains a range of antioxidants which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits. These antioxidants can help to fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and protect against damage. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin, eyes, hair and nails.
Mustard oil can also be beneficial for digestion and is said to have antiseptic properties when used externally. The oil has been studied for its potential in treating various other ailments, including arthritis, respiratory diseases, kidney problems and even cancer.
In terms of cooking, mustard oil has a higher smoke point than many other oils, as well as a robust flavour and aroma that can elevate a dish. It is best used sparingly as part of a marinade, for sautéing or for roasting vegetables. It should not be used for deep frying, however, as the fatty acids can break down.
If you’re looking to reap the health benefits of mustard oil, it’s best to purchase cold-pressed varieties, as the traditional kind can contain too much erucic acid. It is also important to store mustard oil away from light and heat, in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Overall, mustard oil is a versatile and healthy addition to any kitchen. It’s packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which can offer countless health benefits. With its robust flavour and aroma, it can enhance any dish and is sure to bring a unique dimension to your cooking.
Mustard Oil: From Farm to Your Dinner Plate
Mustard oil is an edible oil made from mustard seeds. It’s garnered a reputation for being versatile yet incredibly healthy for many applications, such as in cooking and as a medicinal massage oil. But before it gets to your dinner plate, there’s a lot of work that goes into transforming mustard seeds into oil. Let’s walk through the entire mustard oil–making process.
Growing and Harvesting Mustard Seeds
The first step to getting mustard oil to your dinner plate is growing the mustard seeds that are used to make it. Mustard is generally grown in fields, but some special varieties are grown in greenhouses. The type of mustard used also affects how the final oil will taste and can range from black, yellow, or brown. In India and Bangladesh, black mustard, Brassica nigra, is grown for cooking oil. In the U.S., all three types of mustard seed are grown, but most mustard oil is still made from black mustard.
When picking a planting site, mustard farmers look for sites with a warm climate — at least four months of warm weather and dry 70-80 days. Soil fertility requirements vary with each region, but the majority of mustard is grown in soils with medium to high organic matter and good drainage.
Seeds are usually spread as a cover crop either directly into the ground or through broadcasting machines. After about a week, tiny mustard seedlings will have emerged. Depending on the type of mustard, each plant will stay in the ground for between 50-90 days until it reaches full maturity. When picked, the mustard seed pods are removed and emptied of the seeds.
Processing the Mustard Seeds
From there, the mustard seeds need to be processed into oil. The primary type of processing is crushing or pressing, depending on the grade of mustard produced and the desired quality of the resulting oil. Here’s a breakdown of the two different methods:
1. Crushing: This method is used to make ‘grinding mustard oil’, which is the lowest grade of oil. Crushing is done using a crushing machine that squeezes the mustard seeds until their cells rupture and the oils are released. This method requires the use of significant force, which can results in the oil containing high levels of heat-resistant proteins and polyphenols.
2. Pressing: To make the highest grade of mustard oil, pressing is used. This method involves milling, roasting, and grinding the seeds. The machines used for pressing are heated using steam to reduce the viscosity of the oil, which eases the extraction process. After the oil is extracted, it is sent to a filter press to remove unwanted particles and other impurities.
Final Steps Before Selling
Once the mustard oil has been extracted and filtered, it must be bottled or packaged. The oil can remain in liquid form or be turned into a paste or powder. Oil or powder is usually transferred to brightly colored bottles or packages to make it more appealing to consumers. Bottles are then labeled according to regional requirements and regulations.
Once ready for sale, the oil is typically shipped to stores and supermarkets in trucks. Often, it’s sold in large containers that hold up to 200 litres of oil each. Customers can then buy the oil in smaller containers, such as 750 ml bottles, 1-litre jars, or 5-litre cans, so they can use just the right amount at home.
Using Mustard Oil in the Kitchen
Now that you know where mustard oil comes from, let’s look at how to use it. Mustard oil is widely used throughout India and across the world as a cooking oil. It has a sharp, intense flavour that works well to deepen and bring out the flavours of other ingredients. One popular way to use mustard oil is to use it to fry foods. It has a relatively high smoke point, which means it can be used to sear, stir-fry, and even deep-fry foods without burning them.
Mustard oil can also be used like other edible oils, such as for salad dressings and to drizzle over steamed or sautéed veggies. Additionally, the oil can be used to add flavour to soups and curries. It’s even sometimes used to make mustard-mayonnaise or to butter toast — giving food an extra kick of flavour and nutrition.
Using Mustard Oil for Health and Wellness
Mustard oil is not only a tasty cooking oil, but it’s also chock-full of health benefits. Mustard oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to reducing cholesterol levels. It’s also rich in essential nutrients, such as selenium and magnesium, as well as linoleic acid, which is a precursor to omega-3 fatty acids.
Mustard oil may also be beneficial for people who suffer from joint pain, as massaging it into the affected area may help relieve the symptoms. Additionally, some studies have shown that massaging mustard oil into the scalp can promote hair growth and reduce dandruff. It can also help promote a healthy glow to the skin. What’s more, the sulphur, zinc, vitamin E, and beta-carotene present in mustard oil can also help protect from skin cancer and other ailments caused by UV radiation.
Mustard oil has been a staple in many global cuisines for centuries, and for good reason. Not only does it lend a unique and complex flavour to many dishes, but it also boasts an array of health benefits. Fortunately, it’s easy to find on store shelves and readily available online. So, the next time you’re planning on cooking up a special dish or want to give your wellness regime a boost, consider adding some mustard oil to the mix.
|Total Sugars||0.131141 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||1.39 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||3.75 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||1.12 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||6.26 g|
|Erucic acid (22:1)||41.18 grams||
|Oleic acid (18:1)||11.61 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.22 grams||
|Gadoleic acid (20:1)||6.19 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||59.2 g|
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||5.9 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||15.33 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||21.23 g|