Mustard Overview

Mustard is an oilseed crop and is one of the world’s most important spice crops. The original use was likely not for its own flavour, but to hide the flavour of some foods. Many different cultures use mustard in their cuisine.

More than 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed around the world every year.


Mustard is used in food preparation and the oil from the mustard can be used for biodiesel and other industrial products. More than 700 million pounds of mustard are consumed around the world every year.

Saskatchewan producers are the world’s largest mustard exporters.

Canola, flax, mustard, camelina, and sunflowers are all oilseed crops that grow in Saskatchewan.

There are three types of mustard: yellow, brown, and oriental mustard.
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Brown Mustard

Brown Mustard

Brown mustard seeds tend to be more pungent and are mixed with yellow seeds to create different varieties of mustard.
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Yellow Mustard

Yellow Mustard

Yellow mustard seeds are the most common and the mildest in flavour.
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Oriental Mustard

Oriental Mustard

Oriental mustard oil is used as a spicy cooking oil in some Asian countries, but is not consumed as an oil in North America.

History of Mustard

From the beginning of human civilization, many cultures have used mustard including people from India, Egypt, and China.

Mustard was first grown in Western Canada in Alberta in 1936.

Forty hectares of mustard was grown in Southern Alberta in 1936 and that was the first time mustard was grown in Western Canada. During this time, California and Montana grew the most mustard, but Canadian production grew due to better production methods and quality.

These are various types of mustards in jars.

Growing Mustard

Mustard is an oilseed with both a tap root and fibrous roots. The mustard plant will start to grow at low temperatures, which is great for growing in Saskatchewan. Mustard grows well in dark brown and black soil zones in the Prairies.

This graph shows the major soil zones across the Prairies.

It is best to plant mustard early in the spring (before May 6) to allow the plant to mature before the weather gets hot. If the crop is planted later in the spring (last week in May), the plant will produce less seeds.

The mustard plant can be planted in low temperatures in early spring in Saskatchewan.

Fields are planted with seeds and fertilizer. Next, fields are sprayed with pesticides to control insects, weeds, and diseases. The yellow flower of the plant produces small seeds that are found in pods.

Mustard plants form pods that will fill with seeds.

When it is time to harvest, farmers can swath the crop into rows for the combine to pick up, or they can straight cut the field using a straight cut header on a combine. This is usually determined by the evenness of the field.

Mustard is an oilseed with both a tap root and fibrous roots.

It is impossible for the combines to get every single seed and seeds that land on the ground often grow in the following years. These are called ‘volunteer’ plants and are basically weeds because they are growing where they aren’t wanted.

These farmers are checking this mustard crop to see if it’s ready to harvest yet.

Canola and mustard are so similar that it is difficult to get rid of ‘volunteer canola’ in a mustard field and vice-versa. Farmers usually only grow one or the other but much more canola is grown than mustard.

Mustard Nutrition

Mustard is an oil seed, which makes it high in fat and protein. Mustard is full of essential minerals. The mustard seed is about 25% protein and is a good source of the omega-3 fatty acids that may help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Mustard is an oil seed, that is nutritious for our bodies.

Mustard Products

Oriental Mustard has a spicy flavour and is used to make food products.

Yellow mustard can be made into many food products.

Brown mustard can be made into delicious food products.

Mustard is sometimes used to help with the following health issues:
  • Chest congestions
  • Arthritis
  • Rheumatism
  • Toothaches
  • General stiffness
  • Asthma

Mustard oil is used in medicines to treat a variety of health issues.