Saturday, July 5, 2014

Must Have Mustard

      Must Have Mustard          

                While many consumers are focusing their attention on the events of July 4th weekend, they are having hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, and a variety of other wonderful foods on which they put mustard to enhance flavor. The word “mustard” often conjures thoughts of the yellow semi-liquid that we put on foods due to tradition as well as the unique tastes that the condiment can offer. However,mustard is far more than this yellowish substance associated with summer foods as the leaf variety can actually improve overall health and wellness.

                Mustard greens come in many forms and sizes and have a multitude of important vitamins and minerals which we need on a daily basis. For instance, mustard leaves are rich in Vitamin A, C, and K. Vitamin A is important for vision, red blood cell production, and disease prevention. Vitamin C is most well-known perhaps for its impacts on helping our immune systems (does not cure colds, but may help alleviate symptoms and build the immune system). Vitamin K is well-associated with improved bone density and heart disease prevention specifically (as well as many other body functions).

Besides the vitamin content listed above, mustard greens only have about 25 calories for roughly 3 ounces of product, a perfect addition to any calorie-watching nutrition program that is being implemented. Perhaps the best thing about mustard greens is that they are relatively easy to find in a supermarket with other leafy vegetables and are generally as inexpensive as leaf lettuce. If your supermarket does not carry some type of mustard greens, you can always grow them yourself. Mustard is one of the easiest plants to grow as it does not require maintenance other than watering and weeding. Even if you do not have a space for your own garden, you can still grow mustard in a flower pot in a window (which is usually what I do each spring prior to transplanting them to my garden when the weather warms).

Lastly, mustard leaves can be eaten in a variety of ways. They can be used as a side dish, a garnish for the main course, sautéed, or eaten as part of a salad raw. The zest that the mustard leaves provide as part of a salad is my favorite way to eat them as it seems that the leaves not only give a distinct flavor of their own, but the greens also enhance the flavors of the other ingredients in the leafy mixture.

Give mustard its due credit and try it in your next meal!

Mark Maule

Health and Wellness Adjunct Instructor


Behty said...

This is so interesting Mark, great twist on mustard thanks

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