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What is the origin of mustard?
It seems that this word first appeared as a surname before 1200. The condiment, originally prepared by making the ground seeds of certain cruciferous plants into a paste with must (crushed grapes not yet fermented; from Latin mustum 'new wine'), was mostarde, moustarde in French (and as the mustard plant, moutarde) and had various forms in Anglo-Norman (mustarde, mustard, mostart, moustard). Since c. 1223, we have known it as a condiment made with crushed mustard grains. The herbs of the family that are called mustard are a species of Brassica native to Europe and western Asia. The most commercially important are the black mustard (B. nigra) and white mustard (B. alba). These are yellow-flowered annuals naturalized in the United States; the black mustard can often be found as a weed infesting grain fields, as is the charlock, or wild mustard (B. arvensis). The paste, made by mixing the powder with water, vinegar, or oil and spices, was originally a medicine and then a pungent condiment. The pungency of mustard does not develop until it is moistened. Cruciferous plants (family Cruciferae) are often rich in sulfur compounds and vitamin C and many were cultivated from ancient times. The use of mustard seeds as a spice has been known from the earliest recorded times and is described in Indian and Sumerian texts dating back to 3000 BC. Mustard plants are mentioned frequently in Greek and Roman writings and in the Bible. In the New Testament, the tiny mustard seed is a symbol of faith. Mustard seed was used medicinally by Hippocrates and other ancient physicians.