Saturday, December 19

homemade mustard

{the beginnings of a white wine - chive mustard}

{and beer - thyme, as well}

this fall has been almost entirely absent of canning, as – like most falls – it's been a season scarce of both time and resources. so when winter break edged around the corner and the itch surfaced again, a new challenge seemed necessary. now, what to make in the dark days of winter? citrus, probably yes. spinach? ew, nope. the idea of homemade condiments seems strangely intriguing, and the more consideration it got, the easier it seemed. minimal ingredients, minimally processed. so many flavor profiles to experiment with. but very little *instant gratification. but having been (nearly) vegetarian for so long, mustard is a staple I could slather on almost anything. and so the challenge begins. if your grocery offers spices in bulk, by weight, abso-freaking-lutely take advantage of it regularly, for all spice/herb needs. product is fresher and so ridiculously inexpensive it makes you wonder how much a little glass jar/little red tin could possibly cost. typically, a refill on any of my jars (excepting vanilla or saffron – duh) costs less than 30 cents, sometimes requiring a pinky finger on the scale to force the weight to register anything at all. if local stores don't offer bulk, try asian/indian markets, as mustard seed is a base for many indian dishes and a pound of dry seed – enough for about a gallon, soaked – runs in the three dollar range.

*I strongly recommend *not* attempting this at home without the self-restraint to prevent immediate tasting; the immature product is quite sharp. ... quite. [note to bro & p3: hopefully you've held out until now, and can be convinced to continue another few weeks, before cracking the seal on the jar. ::grin::]

{soaked seed, prior to adding herbs ~ thyme in this case}

grainy mustard
adapted from here

1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
3/4 cup flat amber beer or white wine (for the gluten free alternative)
1 tbsp mustard flour (can be made in a spice/coffee grinder, to avoid gluten additive, but it's slightly coarser)
1 tbsp dried minced onion
2 tsp dried thyme leaves, chives, or other herb (must be dried, if going un-refrigerated at any point)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (or other 5%+ acid vinegar)
1 tsp salt

soak mustard seeds in the booze of your choice, overnight. about 20 minutes before you are ready to make the mustard, stir mustard flour, minced onion and thyme into seed/booze mix and allow to rest. transfer mixture to a blender (or food processor) along with vinegar and salt, and grind until the desired consistency. transfer to a sterilized glass jar, and refrigerate at least 5 days before using, but the bitterness mellows the longer it rests – two to three weeks is reputedly better. water-bath canning is not an option, as extended high heat flattens mustard's flavor.

{... and chive in this instance}

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