Ann is an avid gardener, cook and garden writer, and a Vermont Certified Horticulturist. She tends to her old farmhouse and organic homestead where she raises blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and elderberries, as well as fruit and nut trees. Ann grows vegetables and herbs in raised beds and containers that are tucked into a lush landscape of perennial gardens in the scenic Winooski River Valley. A trained horticulturist and ecological landscape designer, she is the author of four gardening books, including Organic Gardening for Dummies, and is a longtime contributor to many magazines, websites and other publications.
Homemade mustards, ready to be shared as gifts
IF you’re ready to venture beyond squeeze-bottle mustard, you’ll discover a world of flavors. All mustards share two main ingredients: liquid and mustard seed. Their endless combinations, and other additions to the basic recipe, create an array of flavors from sweet and subtle to sinus-clearing hot.
A ballpark and BBQ necessity, prepared mustard is an essential ingredient in salad dressings, marinades, deviled eggs, sandwiches, meat, fish and poultry glazes and sauces, dips for chicken fingers and sweet potato fries. Making your own gives you free rein to customize. The six recipes in the Deluxe Gourmet Mustard-Making Kit will get you started and give you a range of flavors to enjoy. Throw a mustard-tasting party, give jars as gifts or simply enjoy at your own table.
The kit includes nearly everything you need to make six different mustards. If you choose to use beer and wine, you will need to provide those for a couple of the recipes. The only equipment needed is a blender or food processor, a spatula, whisk and small saucepan. I used a basic blender and it worked well on a low grind or blend speed, plus pulsing when adding liquid. Each recipe took about 10 minutes to make, plus another few minutes to transfer it to the jar and clean the blender.
Deluxe Mustard Making Kit includes nearly everything you need to make six different flavors.
Each recipe makes about 6 to 9 ounces of mustard, depending on the amount of liquid added. To blend well, I found that some mustards initially needed more liquid than called for in the recipe, while some turned out a bit looser than expected. In general, each blender recipe worked best with a total of 1/2 cup of liquid, including honey. Mustard seed expands as it absorbs the liquids in the first 24 to 48 hours, and the consistency thickens as it cools. The other general modification I made to the recipes was to reduce the salt to 1 teaspoon instead of 2 teaspoons. It’s easy to add more, if you prefer, after tasting the finished product.
After you’ve followed the recipes for these six mustards, try creating your own flavors. Add dried herbs, spices, hot peppers, ground horseradish, sweeteners (honey, maple syrup) and other liquids, such as wine and beer.
Raspberry Mustard was a surprise because I don’t usually associate fruit with mustard. The mustard is delicious with whole-grain crackers, sharp cheddar cheese and chicken. It packs a punch with some serious heat. The recipe recommends blending all the ingredients without the raspberries, which are mixed in later. Because I wanted a more smooth texture, I blended the drained berries with all of the ingredients, pulsing till smooth. I used 1/4 cup of the liquid I saved from soaking the dehydrated berries to reach the consistency I wanted.
Honey Mustard is the perfect pair for chicken fingers and sweet potato fries. The recipe has a good balance of sweet and spice with plenty of kick. If you want more of a dipping sauce, add an extra 1 to 2 tablespoons of water at the end. The mustard firms up quite a bit after a day or two of refrigeration. Tip: Warm the honey in a pan of hot water to liquefy it before adding to the blender.
Wine Mustard can be customized by the flavor of the wine you chose. Note that you can use water or non-alcoholic wine instead. I chose a dry white wine for my recipe and liked the results. To make sure I got the right flavor intensity, I added 1/4 cup of wine to start and added more after tasting. Keep in mind that the mustard becomes thicker as it cools; don’t panic if it seems too loose. I further customized my Wine Mustard by adding 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon and cutting the salt to 1 teaspoon. After a week in the refrigerator, this mustard mellows and the flavors meld. Make ahead if you’re serving at a special event. Try it in a salad dressing or egg salad.
Fiery Hot Chipotle Mustard has a double kick of heat; the mustard will clear your sinuses and the hot pepper extends the palate burn. The smoky flavor of the chipotle lingers and mellows the mustard, though, making this a favorite for topping burgers, hot dogs and sausages. Tip: Crush the dried pepper in your food processor or a mortar and pestle before adding it to the mustard mixture. Or, you can chop it with a sharp knife. Wear plastic gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling. To achieve a spreadable consistency, I added an extra tablespoon of vinegar, plus 3 more tablespoons of cold water.
Sweet & Spicy Beer Mustard gives you an opportunity to feature your favorite brew. Using beer for the main liquid makes this mustard a bit less “hot” than the vinegar-based recipes, but it still packs a punch. The recipe is balanced and yields about 6 ounces of thick mustard. Add an extra tablespoon or two of beer to increase the spreadability. Great on burgers and pretzels.
Classic Yellow Mustard resembles squeeze-bottle mustard, but it has a bit more heat from the fresh mustard. I customized the recipe by reducing the vinegar by half for a smoother, thicker result.
Sweet, spicy, fruity or hot, mustard seeds give this condiment its essential flavor. The seeds come from several plants in the brassica or cabbage family. White or yellow mustard (Sinapis alba) seeds have a milder flavor than those of the brown (Brassica juncea) or black (Brassica nigra) mustards, which are more pungent.
The final “heat” of prepared mustard also depends on the liquid and other ingredients used in the recipe, as well as the grind of the seeds. The seeds release only their pungent enzymes when broken apart and combined with liquids. Acidic liquids, such as vinegar, bring out a long-lasting burn. Using cold water in the recipe creates an intense heat, while hot water lessens the effect of the heat-inducing enzymes. Finely ground mustard powder gives the condiment its most intense, sinus-clearing, up-front burn, while coarsely ground seeds give the mustard a longer, more complex heat.
The age of the mixture also affects the pungency; prepared mustards tend to lose their spiciness over time. For best flavor, use homemade mustard within six months.
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