I was making curry for my birthday on Saturday (hello 22!) when I realised, to my horror I had forgotten to buy more mustard seeds from Sainsbury’s and we were all out 😦 But heh, never mind. Then mum got really excited and vanished off to the garden to pick some lettuce and returned with a bowl of mustard seeds she had harvested from the vegetable patch, aka the weeds I am always trying to get rid of.
Now, the two irritating weeds that flourish in my garden despite my best efforts (apart from nettles that just pop up everywhere from the manure we use, that I am at war with constantly after one stung me on the face last week and made me feel like a fool!), the most common to find are a) goosegrass, and b) mustard.
This year it has been even harder to keep the weeds under control after being absent for only a couple of months and it is harder to pull up the mustard when it starts flowering and your mum wants to keep it because the bees like it…
But we tried frying the mustard seeds in the curry, and I tried a fried one on its own, and it was really good! So I’ve started putting the unwanted weeds to good use and I am harvesting mustard seeds to store. I felt like a bit of an idiot for buying them for so long when they have been flourishing in my garden for years!
It is really easy to harvest them. When the seed pods have formed and are dried out so that they are brown and crispy, like paper bags, get a pair of scissors and snip off the pods (or stems with the pods on, the pods are very delicate and will break easily and spill the seeds everywhere) into a container. Open each pod and empty the little mustard seeds into a container for storing, it is that simple!
We bought brown coloured mustard seeds from the shops, but our homegrown ones are black which are the variety my mum has tried to buy for so long to make curries. Apparently, they come from one of three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown Indian mustard (Brassica junga), or white mustard (Brassica hirta/Sinapis alba).
Grinding and mixing the seeds with water and vinegar creates the yellow condiment of prepared mustard.
An archaic name for the seed is eye of newt. Often misunderstood for an actual eye of a newt this name has been popularly associated with witchcraft ever since it was mentioned as an ingredient to a witch’s brew in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
These mustard seeds are known in Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi as sarson. They are also planted to grow saag (greens) which are stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable preparation, called sarson ka saag in Urdu and Hindi. Sarson ka tel (mustard oil) is used for body massage during extreme winters, as it is assumed to keep the body warm.
Mustard seeds generally take eight to ten days to germinate. They can handle a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs.
Mustard grows well in temperate regions. Major producers of mustard seeds include India, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Great Britain and the United States. Brown and black mustard seeds return higher yields than their yellow counterparts.
In Pakistan, rapeseed-mustard is the second most important source of oil, after cotton. It is cultivated over an area of 307,000 hectares with annual production of 233,000 tonnes and contributes about 17% to the domestic production of edible oil. Mustard seeds are a rich source of oil and protein. The seed has oil as high as 46-48%, and whole seed meal has 43.6% protein.
Use mustard seeds in these Indian curries:
Courgettes – Red Lentil Dahl
Okra – Curried Okra
Cucumbers – Paneer Curry
Been a little busy so I have not done everything I needed/wanted to do in the garden this week but I still saw it every day.
Weather looks lovely if slightly hot. Lots of watering needed!
I turned 21 yesterday and was given 4 lovely David Austin roses – white, yellow, pink and red and they smell divine. My favourite red rose already in the garden also opened for my birthday, specially! I was also given a scythe and bill-hook. This will be fun, my brother has asked me to warn everyone in advance when I am practicing with it in the garden so that they can beware…
Nearly the end of July – where did this month go?
Straight back to work this week:
Happy 18th Birthday to the best sister in the world!
Busy, busy, busy…
This week I have:
I will be trying to write one more post on flowers for bees in the vegetable garden before I go, will hopefully post it tomorrow. Otherwise, happy gardening and cooking to all and see you in a week.
Finally better and finally some good weather. It is feeling more like summer.
I am frantically trying to get the garden ‘under control’ (can anyone really do that for a crazy vegetable plot?) before we go away on holiday in almost a weeks time. It means lots and lots of weeding and mulching to keep that goosegrass and mustard out of sight.
This week I’ve managed to:
Mum caught my flu after me but fortunately is back on her feet already and managed to:
We saw a grass-snake in the garden on Thursday. It was beautiful.
Picked lots of stuff: lettuce, courgettes, broad beans, cucumbers, carrots, kale, first Calabrese styled broccoli which were amazing, romensco cauliflower and normal cauliflower, peas, onions, strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, tayberries, three cherries and a couple of blackberries that had grown in our greenhouse. I also picked the last batch of rhubarb for my strawberry and rhubarb jam – see previous post for the recipe, it is yummy. Recipe: Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam
Last week of posting and then I will be absent for a few days – from the internet and the garden.
We’ve had surprisingly good weather this week – other than the freezing night-time temperature that came out of nowhere one night and I had to quickly fleece everything up in layers and layers of protection. Thankfully, the courgettes, squashes and sweetcorn lived!
This week I have:
Mum, while stuck in the throes of awful hay fever and more bee work has done:
We also finally harvested our first batch of rhubarb for the year after putting it off for so long. More on that another time…