Mustards are part of the oilseed family and are regarded both as a spice and as oilseeds. It is used widely in Eastern parts of India and Bangladesh. The oil, for the most part, contains fatty acids like oleic acids, linoleic acid and erucic acid. It has the lowest amount of saturated fats in its composition and thus is good for the heart and overall health. It is used to make vegetable oil or is further processed into the making of essential oil.
The oil is made by pressing of the seeds or by the process of grinding, whereby it is mixed with water and then further distilled. Thirty percent of the mustard seeds is composed of oil. Many countries consider mustard oil as unsuitable for human consumption as it has a high content of a substance known as erucic acid which is harmful to the body but now mustard oils with lower erucic acids are also available.
Mustard is an annual crop. Mustard plant is charachterised by yellowish green leaves and round stems with long inter-nodes. The grayish brown seeds are tiny and round in shape and on reacting with water emit a strong smell The mustard seeds are contained in small pods from where they are extracted. Mustard oil is being increasingly promoted by doctors and other health professionals who highlight the goodness of the oil for health and the heart. Mustard oils are available in the natural dark brown pungent variety and other variety available is the refined oil which is translucent and viscous.
VARIETIES OF MUSTARDS