Saturday, December 13, 2014

Wild Mustard Seeds: Late Summer Remembered

Well, this story is from a while back, but I thought my readers would enjoy it!


I remember being just a little kid browsing mustard greens with my brother as we roamed the orchards and fields of northern California. This season I realized that after the greens died back and the stalks dried out, the mustard plants that abound this area can still yield a wild nutritious and delicious harvest!

My dog and I headed out to a field that extends well over ten miles and likely boasts over a million mustard plants. We had a serious heat wave that week and the dried mustard stalks rattled like maracas in the wind. The seeds were ready!

We sampled around 25 of the plants we found, crushing the pods and loosing the seeds into a bag.

When we got home I first ran the bounty through a colander.

Then I followed up winnowing away the chaff from the seeds into the breeze.

Soon we were left with nothing but tasty mustard seeds and a need to cook up something that would truly let the flavors of this plant sing.

I landed on an old standard—North Indian Aloo Muttar (potatoes and peas in tomato gravy).

I wish that I had some rabbit or fish to pair with it, but I suppose some store bought antibiotic-free, organic, free-range chicken has to do for now.

The meal was exquisite…next year we plan to return for more, to combine that harvest with my buddy Alex’s homemade apple cider vinegar from the season’s apple harvest, a bit of homemade sea salt, turmeric, and other spices, and make our very own foraged mustard!

I will keep you posted.

Keep the old ways alive!


  1. Very cool! I would love to see a photo of the plant when still green, just so I know what to look for. :)

    1. Karen, If you search "wild mustard saag" or "mustard curry" on the blog you should find plenty of images of mustard when it is green. It is a very easily identifiable plant and grows in particular abundance in california. Thanks for reading and good luck! - Kevin

  2. Thanks so much! Found a bunch in our area (slo county) and can't wait to make some homemade mustard. Also enjoyed reading about your clamming adventures. I haven't found a beach here with clams in legal size though.