Mustard – The dried seeds of several members of the Brassica genus are valued worldwide for their pungent flavour. In Western cooking the whole seeds are a common ingredient in pickling mixtures, but the vast majority of the mustard we consume is in the form of prepared mustards. These run the complete spectrum from smooth and mild to coarse and fiery hot, depending on the type of mustard seed used, whether they are used whole, crushed, or finely ground, whether the husks were removed in the processing, and the liquid they are combined with. The spiciness of prepared mustards is provided by an enzyme called myrosinase which is activated by water, and the ultimate flavour of prepared mustard is determined largely by the liquid used: vinegar gives a mild mustard, white wine gives a sharper version, beer produces a fiery hot mixture, and pure water provides the hottest mustard of all. The bright yellow stuff often called “ball park” mustard is more properly known as American mustard and is characterized by the addition of entirely too much turmeric, which accounts for its bright color, dusty taste, and finger-staining ability. Prepared mustards are also flavoured with a variety of other ingredients, including honey, herbs, fruit extracts, and other spices. Mustard loses its potency when heated, so is best added at the table or during the last stages of cooking. Whole mustard seeds will retain their potency and flavor for at least a year when stored properly, but ground mustard loses both after a few weeks.