Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Yellow Mustard Powder: Inventions by Women A-Z

In 1720, Mrs. Clements of Durham was more than just "an old lady," as one English record states. She changed the entire mustard industry. By using a special milling process  to grind and process yellow mustard seed, she produced a spicy, pungent mustard flour that rivaled any mustard on the market.

The old method of producing mustard was to steep the grain in a liquid before crushing the seeds. However, much was dissolved (and lost) in the soaking medium and the husks were removed. Mustard was then sold in balls, mixed with vinegar, cinnamon and honey.

Mrs. Clements' method was to crack open the seed to release the dry material within. The tiny flecks of spicy dust inside were called the "royal flower of mustard." Once ground, the mustard went through additional processing, similar to processing wheat flour. The end result was a finely textured mustard flour rich with flavor. She called it Durham Mustard.

Mustard field

Careful to guard her milling method, she set off on horseback to peddle her product, frequenting London often. Word reached King George I and he became one of her loyal buyers. News spread to the locals who loved copying anything the royals liked, and as a result, Mrs. Clements made a small fortune. For a time Durham dominated the mustard industry until rival companies took over. The monopoly was pretty much over by 1810. Today Durham Mustard is called English Mustard and owned by Colmans of Norwich. (No one knows Mrs. Clements' first name). 




Sources:
http://www.durhamtimes.co.uk/history/pasttimes;
http://www.localhistories.org/condiments.html/1672898.modern_english_mustard_had_its_roots_in_the_inventiveness_and_energy_of_a_durham_woman/
http://www.shakenoak.co.uk/mustard-history-facts.htm; http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/mustard.aspx

https://books.google.com/books?id=KgfHxvGFHAoC&pg=PA568&lpg=PA568&dq=mrs+clements+invented+a+mustard&source=bl&ots=D0yrk3vbQD&sig=3P0JrZq5Wii4a4pMlrAUghhKbBw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mSgbVfT4M4XSoASE8oDAAg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwBjgK#v=onepage&q=mrs%20clements%20invented%20a%20mustard&f=false 
http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1N5WQ_mrs-mustard 

Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl

16 comments:

  1. I didn't know mustard was invented by a woman, Thanks for the interesting information.
    Great post.
    Yvonne.

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  2. Mustard is my favorite condiment. I've never seen a picture of a mustard field before or ever contemplated what a mustard plant looks like. I'm glad Mrs. Clements came along to improve the flavor of mustard with her new process.

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    1. I like the taste and zero fat. Thanks Wendy!

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  3. Now this one I can image a woman inventing. :) I like to add mustard powder to baked beans.

    I've never seen a yellow mustard field before. That is beautiful!

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    1. I forgot how good it is in baked beans....and perfect for summer :) Thanks Chrys!

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  4. Yellow mustard is my favorite condiment. I love it on almost everything. I owe Mrs. Clements a thank you.

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    1. Potato salad, deviled eggs...the list goes on and on. Thanks Julie!

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  5. I have never given much thought to mustard, especially in the spice form. Great post. Very interesting! I love all different kinds of mustards.
    Michele at Angels Bark

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  6. One can not live without mustard. I had no idea how it was made so I learned something about this process. That picture of the mustard field is beautiful

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  7. I always keep a ready supply. Thanks Birgit!

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  8. That's so weird. That no one knows Mrs. Clements' first name. I think this says a lot about a lot ;-)

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  9. Thanks Sharon, Colman's is proper English mustard ... the hot one is properly hot and strong enough to give one a home made sinus wash out. Good on Mrs Clement's for bringing us mustard. How pretty are those mustard fields!

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  10. I never knew this about English Mustard - it's a shame we don't know Mrs Clement's first name, but at least she is remembered :).
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  11. Hi Sharon - I never knew about Mrs Clements or about Durham Mustard - brilliant photo of the tin ... however I'm glad she made a fortune and some man didn't take it from her.

    Over here more money is made by Colmans from the left overs as we mix mustard for the silver pots on the table (not so much obviously any more!!) and the residue can't easily be used up.

    Wonderful read up .. cheers Hilary

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