I harvested several cups of mustard seed this week. Some will go for microgreens. Some will be stored as seed for curries and stews, and saag and pickles. And some I make into mustard as a condiment, for sandwiches and dressings and marinades, either the Seeded Mustard recipe of a couple of years ago, or this one (that I seem, these days, to be preferring).
Home making mustard is ridiculously easy, and worth it because mustard – Brassica juncea- is a member of the brassica family, closely related to canola – Brassica napus. It is prone to all the fairly wide range of pests and diseases of that family, and because it is grown in the same areas and conditions as canola, subject to all the same consequences of overpopulation of any one species – which means they commercially get a good deal of chemical protection.
Mustard is such a superfood even in the small quantities you would eat as a condiment, with such a wide range of minerals and phytonutrients and antioxidents a that it would be a great pity to undo all that with a bit of residual dimethoate. In my garden it grows wild over winter needing no protection at all, seeds prolifically, is dead easy to harvest, and making mustard takes all of 10 minutes.
This is a hot and spicy, slightly sweet, semi smooth mustard for spreading on bread or using in dressings and marinades. Brown mustard seed is hotter that yellow mustard seed, so if you want a milder mustard, go for a mixture of brown and yellow seed.
The recipe makes one jar like the one in the picture – about a cup full of finished mustard. The recipe scales up fine. I make a few jars for us and a few to give away.
- In a glass bowl, soak ½ cup of mustard seeds in ¾ cup of vinegar-alcohol mix for 24 hours. You can use pretty well any kind of vinegar and any kind of alcohol in just about any ratio. They all give you something a bit different. For this batch I used ½ cup of malt vinegar and ¼ cup of rice wine. But I have also used cider vinegar and white wine vinegar and brown vinegar as the vinegar, and I’ve used home brew beer and white wine and cider as the alcohol. The seeds should soak up pretty well all the liquid.
- Put a clean jar or jars on to sterilize. I usually use my pressure cooker, steaming them under pressure for 10 minutes. But you can also just boil them for 20 minutes.
- Use a stick blender to blend the soaked seeds with a good heaped dessertspoon of honey and a good pinch of salt. You won’t get it perfectly smooth, but you should be able to get it semi-smooth. Taste – it will taste very hot and a bit bitter, but you should be able to tell whether it is sweet and/or salty enough for you.
- Bottle the blended mustard in the jars and put them in the fridge to mature. Leave for at least a week, better several weeks, for the flavour to mellow and the bitterness to disappear. If you can. I couldn’t resist trying some on a sandwich straight away and though it was a bit raw it was still good.
Mustard is a potent antibiotic all in its own right, and mixed with honey and salt and vinegar, it will last just about indefinitely in the fridge.