Flowering of white mustard

White mustard is in bloom, non only for the eye

April 12, 2018

This is white mustard, in full bloom now. It is a common spring view in the Romagna countryside, bit always spectacular.!
It is also inspiring to post picture and write comments.
But you may also think of more material things, that is, to eat it. In that case, do not wait, since flowering will soon end.
Pick a substantial amount of flowering tops, and put the flowers into a green salad, of lettuce, young spinaches or young wild greens. Or also tomatoes, if you prefer; however, if you want local seasonal products, it is not yet time for tomatoes. Do not use rocket salad, or radish, that will cover the flavour of flowers.
Flowers will bring a marked, very original, mustard flavour, which strength will depend on the amount you use, with a sweetish aromatic nectar background.
You have to adopt some strategy, however: once at home, spread the flowers, a bit in the sun, but not for long, otherwise they will wilt. In this way, all the small insects living inside the flowers (quite a lot !), which presence you probably did not notice, will go away. They go quickly, but there is no other way, since you cannot deeply wash the flowers, that are easily damaged.
Of course: if you do this operation inside the house, the insects will disperse there, so… better on a balcony.

How to recognise it

You wonder  how to distinguish white mustard from other plants of the same family (Brassicaceae or Cruciferae), with yellow flowers ?
It is rather simple. Do not consider leaves too much, since they will not be very useful. First, let’s exclude something completely different: look for elongated flowering tops of yellow flowers, more compact at their tips, where flowers are not yet open. Flowers have four petals, arranged in cross.
And then, to distinguish this species from other similar ones of the same family: consider a flowering top a bit older, which basal flowers are already wilted, and the small fruits are starting growing. Its base is very hairy and its apex, called “beak”, is laterally compressed.
Finally, what about if you make a mistake with another plant of the Brassica family ? The flowers will probably have a different taste, not as good: taste them.

White mustard in bloom. Filippo D’Antuono. piudimille.com. All rights reserved.

White mustard in bloom in the countryside of Saiano, Marecchia valley

Here a flowering top, ready to be picked

A help to recognise it