By Catherine McNally

Mustard plants have long been prized for their tangy and aromatic seeds. Dried mustard seeds are used in their whole form to give an intense flavor to foods. Mustard seed produces dry mustard, which has a more subtle taste than the mustard seed. An essential oil found in the seeds gives mustard its flavor and aroma.

Mustard seeds and dry mustard have different flavor intensities.

Mustard Seed

Whole mustard seed has a very strong flavor and it is often used for pickling foods and making sauerkraut. The dried, ripe seed is typically used in mustard blends. The black and brown seeds are used to make spicy mustard sauces, while mild mustard sauces are made with white seeds.

Dry Mustard

Dry mustard is made by grinding mustard seeds using a mortar and pestle. Unlike the mustard seed, dry mustard has no aroma until it is moistened.

Uses of Dry Mustard

Dry mustard or ground mustard can provide strong flavor although it is less intense than the whole mustard seed. Ground mustard can also be used as a thickening and emuslifying agent. A variety of items, including sauces, condiments and spice blends use ground mustard.