Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wild mustard seed update

I may be being paranoid, but I'm wondering about shelving our plans to make mustard paste from the wild turnip seeds we collected.

Wild varieties of Brassica rapa - like the one we've been picking - can have a lot of erucic acid in the seeds. (Apparently nasturtium seeds are also rich in it).

On the other hand, we only collected a miniscule pile of seeds, and from what I'm reading in articles from various food safety authorities, a tiny bit consumed on a very occasional or short-term basis is probably okay.

I'll do a bit more research.

As a plan B, there's some Shepherd's Purse, another member of the mustard family, growing along the bank beside our house. Perhaps we could try making mustard from the seeds of that instead (assuming they are less rich in erucic acid).

They're absolutely tiny, those Shepherd's Purse seeds, and it would be fiddly, but it could be fun. My daughter is already quite taken with this plant's little heart-shaped seed pods.


maryinnz said...

Hi - I had fun looking up words like erucic in the Latin dictionary. It might come from erugo which means smooth out wrinkles. Or it might come from eructo which means throw up or burp. Don't fancy the stuff if that's what it does to you! On the other hand I could do with some if it's the first meaning... Mary

Nikki said...

Hmmm, no idea here. Cute little heart shaped seed pods though on the shepherds purse (and looks like some young chickweed mixed in there too?).

Johanna Knox said...

Hi Nikki - you have sharp eyes!!!! Yes, quite a lot of chickweed round our house. Unfortunately a lot of it growing in the 'contaminated' area - where a lot of old foam and plastic had been dumped. Manage to get enough to put in salad sometimes though ...

And hi Mum! :) Hm - I'd love to know which of the meanings it is. And you know your wrinkles are lovely ... please don't stop being my shining role model for anti-ageism!!! :)