Mustard oil can be extracted from all three varieties of mustard, as they all have an oil content of 20 to 35%. The term “mustard oil” refers to both the fatty and the essential oil of the mustard seed. The essential oil is also used in the production of mustard and is responsible for its pungent taste.
The essential oil is produced from the black mustard, but only under the action of water. First, mustard oil is extracted from the seeds in a cold-pressing process using a mechanical press, such as a Florapower universal press. Then the remaining mustard press cake is ground into flour, mixed with water and left to stand in a distillation unit. After some time, distillation with steam can follow. The resulting essential oil is thin, toxic, has a colorless to yellowish tint and a very pungent odor that irritates the eyes to tears, and has a burning effect on the skin, producing redness and blisters. It contains a lot of ally-isothiocyanate. Mustard spirit, made from mustard essential oil combined with alcohol, is used only for medicinal purposes.
Properties and storage
White mustard oil is yellow in color while raw black mustard oil is light in color. The content of allyl mustard makes white mustard oil spicy, while black mustard oil has a rather spicy smell, but also has a pungent taste.
Refined oil is odorless and tasteless.
Mustard oil consists of about 60% monounsaturated fatty acids, which consist of 42% erucic acid and about 12-18% oleic acid. In addition, it contains 21% polyunsaturated fatty acids, in which omega-3-linolenic acid is about 6-10% and omega-6 linoleic acid is up to 15%. Also included are glycerides, behenic acid, antioxidants and vitamin E. Black mustard oil can also be found in the form of sulfur.
When exposed to light, atmospheric oxygen or moisture, the oil quickly becomes rancid and the smell and taste may change as a result. Therefore, if this oil is stored in an airtight, cool and dark place, its shelf life is about 12 months.
In pharmacology and medicine
According to Markus Hartmannau’s “Oil – Naturally Cold Pressed”, mustard oil can have positive effects on the body. It can lower cholesterol, promote blood circulation or strengthen the immune system, and in addition, prevent tumors and heart attacks. Because mustard oils (such as allyl mustard oil) have strong antibacterial effects, they are often used therapeutically as topical skin irritants.
Mustard oil is also used in this area. Because it promotes skin circulation through the skin-irritating allylic mustard oil it contains, this oil is often used for skin care and Ayurvedic massage. However, people with irritable skin or allergies should not use it.
Use as an edible oil is still relatively unexplored. But mustard oil has been proven to be considered the healthiest oil due to its favorable fatty acid ratio (including approximately 10% omega-3 fatty acids and only 6% saturated fatty acids), high phytochemical content and very high vitamin and mineral content. Not only can it be used for preparing raw food and salads, but it is also a good alternative for steaming and frying or making chips and sauce. Particularly in the Middle East, mustard oil is used as a cooking oil. However, due to the increased proportion of erucic acid contained in mustard oil seeds, it is only offered for sale in Europe to a limited extent under certain conditions. For, if the mustard oil was not heated or not heated enough, glycerides of erucic acid, as well as isothiocyanine, can still be found in the oil. This acid can lead to fatty heart. But if the erucic acid content is less than 5% after heating, the health risks can be assessed as low.
Further areas of application
Mustard oil is also used as a lubricant, fuel or in soap making.
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In addition to our own knowledge gained during press tests, the following sources were used to create the article:
- Öle, natürlich kaltgepresst, Basiswissen & Rezepte, Marcus Hartmann, Hädecke, 2008
- Heilende Öle, Pflanzenöle als Nahrungs- und Heilmittel, Neue Erkenntnisse, Günter Albert Ulmer Verlag Tuningen
- Lexikon der pflanzlichen Fette und Öle, Krist, Buchbauer, Klausberger, SpringerWienNewYork, 2008