food, history, rural life, and how we connect our cultural past and future
Mustard is a perfect condiment for summer: Make your own from scratch!
My son-in-law Chris is nicknamed Mustard! So of course I had to ask him if he had ever made mustard. No says he. So that determined me to explore the topic myself. I’ve always liked rough textured mustards but the tiny gourmet jars were pricy and in any case packaged to seem intimidating to the make-your-own crowd; even me! Until I did the research I had no idea this common condiment was so easy to make from scratch. In my 18th/19th century cookery books it seems that the mistress of the house bought dry mustard powder for her cooks to mix as needed but nowhere did I find a mention of the seed grinding process.
On a Thursday evening after work Chris came by for the big experiment. I had soaked the seed overnight as directed but still we expected it would be hard work to grind these tiny seeds to a powder or mash. Not so. Within minutes of beginning the grinding it was clear we were well on the way to mustardhood (may I say that? Thank you.) From turning on the stick blender to packing the finished mustard in the jars took about an hour and good part of that hour was spent ohhing and ahhing over each step, and how great it all smelled, and being smugly pleased with ourselves.
Because my habit is usually to buy foodstuffs in bulk when possible I bought 4 lbs. of mustard seed online from Penzeys Spices.com; there are other online venders of spices and local natural foods stores carry bulk spices as well. I knew I would want enough to make several batches and the seeds keep well in the freezer.
So far I’ve eaten our mustards with sliced baked ham, with kielbasa, with roast pork, with sliced cheese, in cheese sauce, and of course slathered on a fabulous hotdog served on a homemade potato bun, piled with homemade sweet pickle relish, sauerkraut, and fresh chopped onion.
Crunchy Yellow & Brown-Seeded Dijon-Style Mustard
1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar; we didn’t have any so we used Potter’s Craft Cider: Farmhouse Dry instead; it worked great, so I encourage you to experiment with the vinegar or wines you have on hand
1 teaspoon salt
Soak the first three ingredients overnight in a glass bowl; cover with clear wrap.
We used a stick blender to grind up half the soaked seed to a thick well-ground slurry. Add the remainder of the seeds and again grind till the mixture is mostly slurry with lots of whole seeds still visible. As you finish mixing add the wine vinegar or other acid liquid. The addition of the acid liquid (wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine) sets the heat of the finished product. (See link 2 below for the details of this amazing chemical reaction)
Variety #2: after the last liquid add from 1 TBLS – ¼ Cup of ground horseradish to taste. We divided our original batch in half adding the horseradish to one half.
Bright Yellow Hot Dog Mustard
1 cup yellow mustard seeds
1cup cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
4 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt
In a glass bowl soak the seeds with cider vinegar and water over night; cover with clear wrap.
Add remaining ingredients and grind with stick blender or food processer. For a more complex mustard think about adding hot sauce, pickle juice, finely chopped onion or shallot, or paprika to the finished mixture.
Store your mustard in glass jars in the fridge. I use small (1/4 – ½ cup) jelly jars as that way you are likely to use up a jar at only one or two sittings. Also it is easier give samples away as gifts which will be very much appreciated.
While the mustard will last in the fridge for many weeks, indeed months, it will slowly loose its heat. Since it is so easy to make I recommend making smaller amounts, eating it up by using it regularly, and making mustard more often!
A mortar and pestle is slow work but will do the job. The mixture might sting your eyes like chopping an onion can do so don’t hang your face right over the mixing procedure. I also wear rubber gloves just to make sure I keep my fingers from getting the volatile mustard oils on them and, knowing me, in my eyes!
For our three finished mustards Chris and I riffed on a widely available collection of mustard recipes out in the world of the internet; here is the link to one recipe we found particularly simple and helpful as a jumping off point:
Scroll to the bottom of this excellent resource and you will find mustard making tips and warnings, access to a video demonstration, and scholarly sources on mustard.
More than you ever wanted to know about mustard.