Monday, January 2, 2012

Cooking Floyd: ...mmmMustard!

Now that the preserving season has slowed down (although it never really stops) there's time for projects on the "I want to try this" list.  Mustard is one of these.  Armed with lots of flavored vinegars, fruits, herbs and spices, I figure I can turn out all kinds of specialty mustards once I get the technique down.  While mustard can be canned for long term preservation, it keeps a mighty long time under refrigeration.  Quite frankly, I'm glad to have a break from the water bath!
You'd think I'd know by now that when making something I've never made before, I should stick to that recipe exactly the first time.  But no.  I had to tweak it and nearly had a fail the first time out.

I started with Garlic Honey Mustard from Everything Canning and Preserving and nearly had a fail right off the bat.  Because I had to tweak I suppose.  It seemed to be the easiest to start with because all that is involved is combining the ingredients.  Right.  My notes are in italics.

Garlic Honey Mustard
1/4 cup freshly ground mustard (1/4 cup of mustard seed grinds into a lot more than 1/4 cup of freshly ground.  Try grinding 1/8 of a cup of seeds.)
1/2 cup honey (I used a dark honey, it's what I had.)
1/4 cup whole dark mustard seed  (I used yellow seeds.  Again, what I had.)
1/2 cup malt or white wine vinegar (I used malt.)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard powder
1 tablespoon finely ground garlic  (A press would have been useful here.  I used a sprinkle of salt and mashed the garlic with the flat of the blade to make a paste.)
salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients.  Taste test and adjust for personal preferences.
The original recipe suggests using orange blossom honey to add an aromatic note.  I liked the idea but didn't have any so I added a tablespoon of Clementine dust, the fresh zest from a whole orange and the juice from half a naval orange.  When I tasted it there was a very nice orange flavor about it but the mustard was sharp, burny, and bitey in a way I didn't like at all.  It was also very runny, probably from my addition of orange juice.

To make the mustard thinner, add more vinegar; to make it thicker add more mustard powder or honey.
I so wasn't going to add more powder, it was already too sharp.  No more honey either, it was a nice level of sweet.  Not knowing exactly how to fix it, I put it in the fridge overnight in hopes that the seeds would swell and it would thicken on it's own.  It didn't.

The next day when I pulled the mustard out of the fridge, it was as runny as when I put it in.  By that time I had done two other mustards successfully and I figured I'd try cooking it down like I did those.  I warmed the mustard in a small pot to a very slow simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently,  reducing it by about 1/4 the volume.  Not only did the mustard thicken up nicely, it mellowed the bite right out of it.

This mustard may be frozen, but canning offers a longer shelf life and better textural/taste results.  Use a hot pack, hot water method, leaving at least 1/4" space at the top of each jar and immersing the jars for 15 minutes.
So here's where the cook down of the mustard actually occurs although the sealed jars don't allow for reduction of the liquid.  Fifteen minutes of cooking in the boiling water bath to process and seal the mustard probably has the equivalent mellowing effect that reducing it on the stovetop did.  Whether your mustard needs to be thickened up or not, I recommend that you simmer it for a few minutes when combining the ingredients. 

Move to a cooling surface, leaving plenty of space between the jars.  Check all the lids when cool, tightening as needed.  If any of the jars did not seal, refrigerate or freeze instead.
Since this recipe made only a generous cup of mustard I chose to just refrigerate it.  After all this I think this is my favorite of the three mustards I made!

Sun-Dried Tomato Mustard from Small Batch Preserving
1/4 cup mustard seed
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

Cover mustard sees with warm water and refrigerate overnight.  (I let them soak covered with warm water for an hour and then proceeded.)  Drain and rinse seeds.

I used our dehydrated Principe Borghese tomatoes.

Place mustard seeds, tomatoes, vinegar, dry mustard, oil, salt, and sugar in a food processor.

Process until almost smooth and thickened.
In all the recipes I used the smallest bowl of the food processor to the same effect: things mixed up but the seeds didn't process at all.  I came back the next day, put the mustard in the jar I use with my immersion blender, and blended the mustard with that until it was at the smoothness/graininess I wanted.

Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month or freeze for longer storage.

The Sun-Dried Tomato Mustard has almost a B-B-Q flavor that goes very well with tangy, sharp, and smoked cheeses.

Cranberry Mustard
This Cranberry Mustard recipe comes by way of Cynthia over at Mother's Kitchen.  It yields a lot of mustard so if you're making it just for yourself, cut the recipe in half.
1 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry mustard
2 1/2 tsp ground allspice

Bring vinegar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add mustard seeds. Cover and let stand at room temperature until seeds have absorbed most of the moisture, about an hour or so.  Combine mustard seeds and liquid, water and Worcestershire sauce in a blender. Process until slightly grainy. Add cranberries and blend until chopped.

Bring cranberry mixture to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in sugar, dry mustard and allspice. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until volume is reduced by a third, about 15 minutes.

Ladle hot mustard into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Makes five 4 oz jars.

Michael is not a mustard eater.  Or a cranberry eater for that matter.  But he did like this mustard.  He says the sum of it's parts is definitely greater than either of it's ingredients.

I find I'm really enjoying making my own condiments.  Ketchup has always been on my canning list and whipping up mayo is a no-brainer.  Add in salad dressings, hot sauce, flavored vinegars, oils and now mustards and I'm discovering how much better condiments taste.  Having control over the ingredients is important (no HFCS and things I can't pronounce, nor mysterious "natural flavors" here), I can customize to my heart's content, and I'm saving large amounts of money!


  1. What did you use to grind the dry mustard seeds?

    They all sound good, but esp. the cranberry mustard!

  2. Glad you liked the cranberry mustard. I just opened my last jar of it. I'll have to make some more. Just made some chutney last night - here's the recipe. Great winter canning project if you are up to some more condiment canning.

  3. Hi Darius!
    I use a small electric coffee grinder. It's good to have one dedicated to grinding herbs and spices because mustard-flavored coffee is really not that good.

    Hi Cynthia!
    I love Major Grey's and will be over to check out that recipe!

  4. Ooooh homemade mustard. We love mustard but have never made it from scratch. What a wonderful idea! Do you gow your own seed?

  5. Hi Victoria!
    No we don't grow our own seed although I did linger over a mustard seed description in one of the latest seed catalogs. I think I'm going to give this a shot next summer. Wild mustard grows like crazy around here.