White mustard seeds

Harvesting seeds of white mustard plants

May 14, 2020

We already talked about white mustard, but let’s see it here from a different point of view.

Do you remember its exuberant blooming ?  As usually, all these flowers generate fruits, and seeds, that are really in incredible amounts.  Each plant can produces many thousands of seeds, explaining why this species is so abundant. At seeds set, the plant is far less visible, but is still there, for sure.

Its seeds are really the ones of white mustard, so the ones used as a base for all the most renowned mustard sauce preparations. Find a lot of pages on the web, for example here, or here.

Well, yesterday I went out for a walk along the river Savio banks, and white mustard plants were all well dried, loaded of fruits not yet opened, and the idea came. I went back to the place well equipped, and made a good harvest.

Pay attention: this is not a job to be taken lightly. The hair of the plant, looking so soft when the plants are green, become stinging and acute, penetrating into the skin.  They serve to adhere to animals, that bring the fruits around, and make the fruit shattering. Hairs are also irritating, so the animal try to get rid of them: it is a perfect dispersal mechanism. So, go with your body well, wear gloves and in this case, yes, also cover your mouth and nose, in case with a face mask.   

The exuberant fruit set of wild white mustard

The acuminate hairs of ripe white mustard fruits

At home I proceeded to extract the seeds with what I had available. First, I separated the fruits, then I threshed them by means of a piece of wood (do not even think of doing this by your hands, not even wearing gloves); then I separated the coarser part of the chaff, by making it floating over the seeds on a tray, as it was usual to do in the past. In this way, only few residues were left, that I eliminated by sieving the seeds by means of a draining spoon; finally, I eliminated the fine chaff ventilating by means of a hair dryer.

The threshing, by means of a piece of wood

The sieving

The final ventilation

Basic rules to be observed, for these operations:
– do not work inside the house, since: dust and small pieces of chaff  spread everywhere;
– do not blow the dust  over yourself and do not inhale it; if you start feeling uncomfortable, stop and protect yourself better. 
The final product is the seeds that you can use in one of the many ways that you find described. Simply crushed, to aromatise meet dishes, or in more elaborated preparations, like some kinds of home-made mustard sauces.

White mustard seeds. Filippo D’Antuono. piudimille.com. All rigths reserved

And here is the final product