Mustard seeds against a scale of 20 millimetres (34 inch)

Mustard seeds are the small round seeds of various mustard plants. The seeds are usually about 1 to 2 millimetres (132 to 332 in) in diameter and may be colored from yellowish white to black. They are an important spice in many regional foods and may come from one of three different plants: black mustard (Brassica nigra), brown mustard (B. juncea), or white mustard (Sinapis alba).

Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates the yellow condiment known as mustard.


Mustard seeds generally take eight to ten days to germinate if placed under the proper conditions, which include a cold atmosphere and relatively moist soil. Mature mustard plants grow into shrubs.

Yellow mustard has a plant maturity of 85 to 90 days; whereas, brown and oriental mustard have a plant maturity of 90 to 95 days. If the temperature conditions are conducive to growth, a mustard plant will begin to bud five weeks after the seedlings have appeared. The plant will reach full bloom 7 to 10 days later. Black, brown or oriental varieties of mustard tend to have higher yields compared to yellow mustard.[1][2] Seed yield is also related to the bloom period. In other words, the longer the bloom period, the greater the seed yield.[3]

Mustard grows well in temperate regions. Major producers of mustard seeds include India, Pakistan, Canada, Nepal, Hungary, Great Britain and the United States.

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 an 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 the whole seed meal has 43.6% protein.


In 2021, Nepal ranked the highest in mustard seed production, followed by Russia and Canada.[4]

Top 10 mustard seed producers in 2021
Country Production (tonnes)
 Nepal 220,250
 Russia 144,593
 Canada 60,532
 Myanmar 34,146
 Ukraine 19,920
 United States 19,880
 China 19,186
 Kazakhstan 8,419
 Ethiopia 2,691
 Serbia 2,432
World 532,769
All values are FAO estimates.
Source: UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)[5]

In North America, mustard is produced as a specialty crop. The majority of production is found in the upper Midwest United States and Canada. In 2020, the total production of mustard in the United States was 81.8 million pounds (37.1 kt).[6]


Mustard seeds carry seed-borne pathogens which affect germination rate, as any other seed.[7] Latif et al., 2006 isolate Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Curvularia, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Rhizopus in Bangladesh.[7]: 78 


Mustard seed, yellow
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy2,126 kJ (508 kcal)
28.09 g
Sugars6.79 g
Dietary fiber12.2 g
36.24 g
Saturated1.989 g
Monounsaturated22.518 g
Polyunsaturated10.088 g
26.08 g
Vitamin A equiv.
2 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.805 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.261 mg
Niacin (B3)
4.733 mg
Vitamin B6
0.397 mg
Folate (B9)
162 μg
Vitamin B12
0 μg
Vitamin C
7.1 mg
Vitamin E
5.07 mg
Vitamin K
5.4 μg
266 mg
9.21 mg
370 mg
841 mg
828 mg
13 mg
6.08 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water5.27 g
Percentages estimated using US recommendations for adults,[8] except for potassium, which is estimated based on expert recommendation from the National Academies.[9]

Grinding and mixing the seeds with water, vinegar or other liquids creates the yellow condiment known as prepared mustard.

Mustard seeds are used as a spice in South Asia. The seeds are usually fried until they pop. The leaves are also stir-fried and eaten as a vegetable. Mustard oil is used for body massage during extreme winters, as it is thought to keep the body warm. In South Asian cuisine mustard oil or shorsher tel is the predominant cooking medium. Mustard seeds are also essential ingredients in spicy fish dishes like jhaal and paturi. A variety of pickles consisting mainly of mangoes, red chili powder, and powdered mustard seed preserved in mustard oil are popular.

In North America, mustard seeds are used in spices and condiments.[10] Yellow mustard is popular in the United States and is often used as a condiment in sandwiches and other dishes. Mustard seeds are first ground into a powder and then mixed with other ingredients to create this condiment. Roughly 1,000 seeds are used in manufacturing just 8 oz of mustard.[11]

Other uses

Ground mustard seed meal is used as a natural soil amendment for soil-borne disease management in other crops.[12]: 413–433 [13]

In culture

The mustard seed is frequently referenced in world literature, including in religious texts, as a metaphor for something small or insignificant.

In the Bible, Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed referring to faith and the Kingdom of God. There, Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade."[14]

There are references to mustard seeds in India from a story of Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BC. Gautama Buddha told the story of the grieving mother (Kisa Gotami) and the mustard seed. When a mother loses her only son, she takes his body to the Buddha to find a cure. The Buddha asks her to bring a handful of mustard seeds from a family that has never lost a child, husband, parent, or friend. When the mother is unable to find such a house in her village, she realizes death is common to all, and she cannot be selfish in her grief.[15][16]

Jewish texts compare the knowable universe to the size of a mustard seed to demonstrate the world's insignificance and to teach humility.[17]

The mustard seed is mentioned in the Quran: "And We place the scales of justice for the Day of Resurrection, so no soul will be treated unjustly at all. And if there is [even] the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it forth. And sufficient are We as accountant (21:47)",[18] and according to the Hadith, Muhammad said that he who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride would not enter Paradise.[19]

See also


  1. ^ "Tame Mustard Production — Publications". Archived from the original on 15 June 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Pulses and Special Crops > Pulses and Special Crops > Producers". 20 March 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2005. Retrieved 28 July 2010.
  3. ^ Wysocki, D (July 2002). "Edible Mustard" (PDF). Oregon State University Extension. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  4. ^ "Which Country Produces the Most Mustard Seeds?". Retrieved 5 November 2022.
  5. ^ "Major Food And Agricultural Commodities And Producers - Countries By Commodity". Archived from the original on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Mustard". Archived from the original on 5 January 2022. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b Singh Saharan, Govind; Mehta, Naresh; Meena, Prabhu Dayal (2016). Alternaria Diseases of Crucifers: Biology, Ecology and Disease Management. Singapore: Springer Singapore. pp. xxxvii+299. doi:10.1007/978-981-10-0021-8. ISBN 978-981-10-0019-5. S2CID 27153886. ISBN 978-981-10-0021-8.
  8. ^ United States Food and Drug Administration (2024). "Daily Value on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels". FDA. Archived from the original on 27 March 2024. Retrieved 28 March 2024.
  9. ^ National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Food and Nutrition Board; Committee to Review the Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium (2019). Oria, Maria; Harrison, Meghan; Stallings, Virginia A. (eds.). Dietary Reference Intakes for Sodium and Potassium. The National Academies Collection: Reports funded by National Institutes of Health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). ISBN 978-0-309-48834-1. PMID 30844154. Archived from the original on 9 May 2024. Retrieved 21 June 2024.
  10. ^ "Mustard". Archived from the original on 19 January 2022. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  11. ^ "What Is Mustard Made Of? | Wonderopolis". Archived from the original on 26 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  12. ^ Meghvansi, Mukesh K.; Varma, Ajit (2015). Organic Amendments and Soil Suppressiveness in Plant Disease Management. Cham, Switzerland. pp. xi–531. ISBN 978-3-319-23075-7. OCLC 928384780.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) ISBN 978-3-319-23074-0. ISBN 978-3-319-36379-0.
  13. ^ Rosskopf, Erin; Di Gioia, Francesco; Hong, Jason C.; Pisani, Cristina; Kokalis-Burelle, Nancy (25 August 2020). "Organic Amendments for Pathogen and Nematode Control". Annual Review of Phytopathology. 58 (1). Annual Reviews: 277–311. doi:10.1146/annurev-phyto-080516-035608. ISSN 0066-4286. PMID 32853099. S2CID 221360634.
  14. ^ "Mark 4 - The Parable of the Sower". The Parable of the Sower. New International Version of the Bible. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  15. ^ Sharman, Shreshtha; Neeta Sharma. Together with English Language & Literature (Term II). Rachna Sagar. p. 222. ISBN 9788181374653. Archived from the original on 2 June 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  16. ^ Buddhaghosa - Buddhist legends, Volume 28 (published 1921) Archived 21 July 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Michaelson, Jay (8 May 2018). "The meaning of God". Archived from the original on 10 March 2019. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  18. ^ "The Quranic Arabic Corpus - Translation". Archived from the original on 21 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Hadith Number 165, Book 1". Sahih Muslim. 9 June 2009. Archived from the original on 2 June 2022. Retrieved 2 June 2022.