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Gulden's, a brand of American mustard, is the third largest American manufacturer of mustard, after French's and Grey Poupon. The oldest continuously operating mustard brand in the United States, it is now owned by agricultural giant ConAgra Foods.
Gulden's is known for its spicy brown mustard, which includes a blend of mustard seeds and spices. The Gulden's mustard recipe has remained a secret for more than 140 years.
Charles Gulden was born on September 23, 1843, in New York City. By the age of 15, he was employed as an engraver. Two years later, he went to work for his uncle, who owned the Union Mustard Mills. After serving with a reserve regiment at Gettysburg during the Civil War, he returned briefly to his uncle's shop.
Gulden opened his own mustard company in 1862. He chose Elizabeth Street for his shop, near the South Street shipping berths, where he could easily obtain the mustard seeds and spices necessary to mix with vintage vinegars. Charles Gulden died in 1916 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.
By 1883, Gulden's product line included 30 mustard varieties and other products, including olives, capers, cottonseed oil, catsup, and Worcestershire sauce. That year, he expanded down the street into a six-story building.
Drawing from his earlier experience as an engraver, Charles Gulden once asked his brother: "Do you think it would help if we were to attach a spoon to each bottle of No. 6, no extra charge?" Soon, the Guldens were attaching fine, imported spoons to each bottle.
Gulden's mustard won awards in 1869 and 1883. It also earned awards at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago 1893, the Exposition Universelle, Paris 1900, the Sesquicentennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1926, and the Napa Valley Mustard Festival in 2005. However, the Gulden's mustard sold today is not the same formula as the mustard that won the awards in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As recently as the 1960s, when the company was headquartered in Saddle Brook, New Jersey, the ingredients listed on the label were: "Mustard seed, vinegar, spices, and salt." Turmeric was not listed, as it is today. The addition of turmeric changed the product's appearance to a milder yellow, somewhat more like yellow mustard. Although the taste was not affected, the company has since removed the medallions representing the 1893 and 1900 awards from its label, since the mustard that is produced today is not the same mustard that won those awards, and it would be improper to suggest otherwise.
Gulden's mustard is now made in Milton, Pennsylvania.