Spicy Brown Mustard: Mustard With Spark

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Spicy brown mustard is made from mustard seeds that originated in India like all the other mustards, but the prepared mustard made with those seeds has its roots in Germany. Mustard has been popular in Germany since the Middle Ages when it was used for medicinal as well as culinary purposes.

The spicy brown mustard familiar to many in the United States actually started in Dusseldorf, which became home to the first German mustard factory in 1726. In Germany, Dusseldorf-style mustard is known for being hot. In Europe, its reputation rivals that of Dijon mustard.

Towards the end of the 19th century, American condiment giant Heinz added brown mustard that they sold as Dusseldorf mustard.

Spicy Brown Mustard

Spicy brown mustard flavor profile

Spicy brown mustard is noticeably hotter than most other mustard varieties, including yellow and Dijon mustards. Spicy brown mustard is made with brown mustard seeds, which gives it the extra heat and darker color. The darker a mustard seed is, the more heat it possesses.

Much of the heat also comes from the fact that less vinegar is used to make the condiment when compared to other mustards. The result is that spicy brown mustard has a higher proportion of mustard seeds and thus more of the mustard flavor. Also, vinegar helps to mellow out the heat from mustard seeds, so less of it means that the seeds retain their heat.

Along with the extra heat and more intense flavor, spicy brown mustard has a coarser mouthfeel since brown mustard seeds do not have their exterior coat removed. Spicy brown mustard may also include other pungent spices like ginger and cinnamon, which can give the condiment additional spiciness and greater complexity. Some people describe the flavor profile of spicy brown mustard as being malty.

Health benefits of spicy brown mustard

Spicy brown mustard has some impressive health benefits, mainly due to the nutritional value of the seeds used to make it. The fact that it contains more of these seeds than other prepared mustards also contributes to its nutritional value.

  • Minerals: The brown mustard seeds used to make spicy brown mustard are rich in multiple minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Allyl isothiocyanate: Sinigrin is a glucosinolate found in multiple plants from the Brassica family. Sinigrin degrades to become allyl isothiocyanate, which gives mustard its pungent taste. It also has numerous health benefits, including the fact that it is an antioxidant.

Spicy brown mustard’s nutrients make it useful for treating and preventing health conditions like:

  • Obesity: The pungent flavor profile of spicy brown mustard does not come with a high-calorie load, which means that you can use it to add flavor to food without making that food more likely to cause weight gain.
  • Cancer: Sinigrin is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to inhibit the growth of bladder cancer and other tumors.

Common uses

Spicy brown mustard is the preferred mustard for the traditional pastrami sandwich on rye bread and other deli favorites. Its assertive flavor profile makes it an ideal accompaniment for strongly-flavored meats. In Germany, the Dusseldorf variety of spicy brown mustard is served alongside roasted steak. The combination is called senfrostbraten.

Spicy brown mustard also pairs nicely with sauerkraut and sausages and makes an excellent dip for pretzels. Spicy brown mustard also serves as an all-purpose alternative to yellow mustard for anyone who prefers spicy flavors.


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