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Homemade Mustard

June 28, 2011

Are you troubled by mealy-mouthed mustard? I have an easy fix: Make your own. You won’t have any trouble ensuring that homemade mustard packs a punch. In fact, if you like your mustard on the bland side, you might want to just stick with the Grey Poupon.

In preparation for mustard-making, I read the awesome article that Hank Shaw posted on his Hunter Angler Gardener Cook site. I then compared it to the recipe for Whole Grain Mustard in Heidi Swanson’s second cookbook, Super Natural Every Day. I appreciated how Hank set me up to experiment with lots of different ingredients in my mustard, but it was also good to see what combination someone whose taste I trust had landed on.

Once I laid my hands on the raw ingredients – my neighborhood Whole Foods surprisingly doesn’t stock whole mustard seeds OR mustard powder – I tinkered around a bit until I found a combination I liked:

  • 1/2 cup whole mustard seeds, in a 2:3 white to brown ratio
  • 1/4 cup mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 generous splash Leffe beer
  • 1 tsp honey

I’m excited to try other variations, incorporating different types of vinegar, maybe an odd oil or two, and fresh herbs from my balcony garden.

Combining these ingredients sounds easy on paper but surprisingly made me break out into a sweat. Who knew mustard-making was a workout?  It’s the first step that’s a killer.

  • Grind the mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle, tablespoon by tablespoon, keeping them mostly whole but still getting some good powder going. If you don’t want an upper body workout, use a spice grinder or your coffee bean grinder.
  • Whisk in the mustard powder and salt.
  • Stir in the water and vinegar.
  • Add the honey, tasting as you go to make sure you don’t let things get too sweet.
  • Use a bit now if you like, but to make your mustard really sing put it in a glass jar and store it in the fridge for a week.
The result is a beautiful golden mustard that barely looks like a spread – it’s so thick you could almost eat it straight, if you could didn’t mind the sensation of flossing with a flamethrower. Don’t worry, though, it does spread.

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