Stone Ground Mustard: An Ancient Condiment

As its name indicates, stone ground mustard is made with mustard seeds that are ground using a stone. Specifically, a millstone is used to grind brown mustard seeds to produce stone-ground mustard. The use of the millstone to produce a coarse grind is the only difference between stone ground mustard and other prepared mustards. 

The tool used to grind mustard for much of history was called a quern. It consisted of two millstones, one on top of the other. Querns were in use from neolithic times for converting cereals to flour.

Some historians credit the Chinese with being the first to grind mustard with stones. The Chinese may also have been the first to add acid to mustard as well. The same method was used in Europe, with French peasants continuing to use querns to produce coarsely ground mustard well into the 18th century. At that time, the aristocracy was consuming the finely ground Dijon mustard.  

John Evelyn, the 17th-century writer and gardener, wrote about using a quern to grind mustard seed to make the mustard condiment. 

Among the first European mustard makers to produce the condiment in commercial quantities was the Frenchman Antoine-Claud Maille. Maille began mass-producing prepared mustard in the mid 18th century, and the company still produces old-style mustard, which is one of the alternative terms used for stone ground mustard. Other names for it include whole grain mustard. Some mustard makers continue to make their products using the same old grindstone method. 

Stone ground mustard flavor profile

Stone ground mustard is not as pungent as spicy brown mustard, but it provides more heat than American yellow mustard. The fact that it is made using brown mustard seeds accounts for some of that heat. Because the mustard seeds are partially ground, stone ground mustard offers a richer mouthfeel than smoother mustards like Dijon

Health benefits of stone ground mustard

You can get an impressive set of health benefits from stone ground mustard. Those benefits come from the valuable nutrients in mustard seeds, which include:

  • Minerals: The mustard seeds that are ground to make stone ground mustard contain essential minerals like iron, calcium, and selenium. 
  • Isothiocyanates: These compounds are responsible for the heat of stone ground mustard and also provide some of its more important health benefits. 
  • Antioxidants: The glucosinolates are the compounds in mustard seeds that are converted to isothiocyanates. Glucosinolates also have health benefits, including their antioxidant properties.  

By including stone ground mustard in your diet, you can treat or prevent illnesses like:

  • Cancer: The isothiocyanates in stone ground mustard are known to be effective cancer fighters. 
  • Diabetes: Studies show that mustard can increase insulin in the blood and reduce blood sugar. 
  • Inflammatory diseases: The antioxidants in stone ground mustard can help fight inflammation, which means that it can be useful for preventing inflammatory conditions like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and gout. 

Common uses

Stone ground mustard is commonly used as a sandwich condiment and may be served along with sausages, cheeses, and rich meats like roast beef. 

Stone ground mustard is also widely used in the dressing component for potato salads, where it adds a grainy mouthfeel in addition to its trademark pungency. Add it to a vinaigrette for salad or use it in a wet rub for meat to be smoked or roasted. The coarse texture can enhance barbecue sauces as well and makes it a great addition to deviled eggs.


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