Prepared from the mustard seed, mustard oil is a versatile oil that can be used for both therapeutic uses and culinary applications. As one of the more common types of seed found in the Mediterranean, mustard seeds produce an oil that is both aromatic and soothing to the skin. It also lends itself well to infusion with other herbs and spices, making it possible to produce a number of oils that are ideal for cold dressings as well as cooking.
When it comes to the use of oils as a soothing topical agent, mustard oil is considered to be helpful with the pain and discomfort associated with arthritis. Along with leaving relatively little residue, the oil provides a pleasant aroma that may also appeal to the user. Its use as an ointment for stiff joints has a long history and is still recommended by persons who prefer to use natural agents to treat various health ailments.
In cooking, mustard oil works differently from most other oils. It is important to allow the oil to reach the smoking point before using it in stir-fry and other dishes that are prepared on a stovetop. Oil that is allowed to reach the temperature necessary for smoking will actually achieve a smoother mustard flavor that will be very appealing.
Storage of containers of mustard oil is not difficult. As long as the container remains unopened, the oil can be stored in a cabinet at room temperature. Once opened, the container should be kept in the refrigerator. Using this method, it is possible to keep it fresh and usable for several months.
Mustard oil is not commonly found in supermarkets, although it is beginning to be carried by chains that are adding lines of organic vegetables and a wider range of ethnic food choices. If local supermarkets do not have this oil, it is relatively easy to purchase the product at Indian or Mid-Eastern grocery stores.