I keep having these ‘aha!’ moments in cooking where I realize that just because something is made in a factory and has a label slapped on it doesn’t mean I can’t make it myself. I keep forgetting that some of the world’s best foods have been made in primitive kitchens for centuries before there were factories and labels and unpronounceable ingredients.
But don’t worry, this is Minimal Monday, and I wouldn’t get you involved in a long drawn-out project like homemade bread, or chicken stock.
Making mustard is a cinch. In its purest form it’s just crushed or whole mustard seeds mixed with a liquid.
But since it’s been around for centuries, people have come up with a lot of variations, and you can have lots of fun deciding exactly which liquid you want to use, and which flavorings might be delicious in YOUR OWN PERSONAL mustard, For instance, you could use plain water. But you can also use cider, like I did. Or hard cider. Or ale, brandy, cognac, fruit juice, wine, whiskey, champagne…you get the idea.
And then you can contemplate other flavors like maple, molasses, ginger, cranberries, tarragon, lemon, orange, chile, walnuts, Vidalia onion, chives, shallots, raspberries, garlic, horseradish, turmeric, paprika, dill, smoked salts, allspice, wasabi, Tabasco, caraway, coriander, curry, apricot, olive, etc. etc. I’m starting with a basic mustard, but I couldn’t resist using some hickory smoked salt and a little honey.
I’ve made ketchup, done mayo, now I’m ready to conquer mustard. I based my experiments on this recipe because it was straightforward and easy. I like things spicy, so I used both brown and yellow seeds, but you can use all yellow for a milder mustard, or go for all brown. Or, find yourself some black mustard seeds and proceed at your own risk!
Homemade Hot Sweet ‘n Smokey Mustard
makes 1 cup
3 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
3 Tbsp brown mustard seeds (use all yellow seeds for a milder mustard)
- Partially grind the seeds in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. This is one job that a small food processor can’t do, the seeds are too small. I left about half of the seeds intact for texture in my mustard.
1/2 cup mustard powder (I used Coleman’s)
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup cider or hard cider
2 tsp hickory smoked salt
2 Tbsp honey
- Mix the seeds with the mustard powder, vinegar, cider, salt and honey. Stir until smooth and lump free. If it seems too thick, add more cider, if it seems a little thin, add more mustard powder, the consistency is up to you. The mustard will thicken a bit as it sits.
- Pour into a sealable glass jar and let rest for a day before using to mellow out the bitter compounds in the mustard. I keep mine in the refrigerator.
Note: This mustard is hot. If you taste it after only 24 hours, it will be really hot. It will mellow as it sits. Again, use yellow seeds if you don’t like a lot of heat.
I think I’m going to use some of my mustard in Baked Whitefish with Mustard Sauce.
Interesting mustard facts:
- Mustard is a part of the family of plants that includes cabbage, radish, Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli.
- Its name comes from the fact that mustard was originally made by grinding the seeds and mixing them with grape ‘must’, or grape juice.
- Mustard grows as a weed in North America.
- Father Junipero Serra scattered black mustard seeds along the routes from monastery to monastery to mark the way in 1768 and the plants still bloom along the highway in California.
- Mustard seeds come in yellow, brown and black.
- The darker the seed, the hotter the mustard.
- Using plain water to make mustard will yield the hottest mustard.
- Whatever liquid you use, a cold liquid will result in a hotter mustard, while a hot liquid, or cooking the mustard, will dampen its heat and flavor.
- Pure mustard is anti-bacterial, it does not go bad, or grow mold.
- Mustard use predates recorded history.
- After salt and pepper, mustard is the most widely used spice in the world.
- Dijon France is the mustard capitol of the world.
- Turmeric is what makes French’s mustard yellow.
- Mustard is a cool weather crop and currently the world’s biggest supplier is Canada.
- The National Mustard Museum in in Middleton, Wisconsin.