I’ve been playing with the idea of making my own mustard for a while now, but hadn’t found a good store to buy ingredients since I moved to Tucson. Today, I struck gold when I visited New Life Health Center, a natural foods store here in town. Not only did they have bulk grains for my baking, but they also have a bulk spice section. I bought whole brown mustard seeds and yellow mustard powder, and went home to start my first ever mustard-making experiment.
Mustard was first created by the Romans, who added ground mustard seeds to unfermented grape juice (known as must). The word “mustard” comes from the words “mustum” (must) and “ardens” (hot). The plant they used was what we know as white, or yellow mustard, Sinapis alba. Brown mustard, Brassica juncea, has a sharper taste than yellow mustard. The black mustard plant, Brassica nigra, is also used in cooking. All three belong to the cabbage family, Brassicaceae, along with cabbage, broccoli, turnips, radish, horseradish, and a wide variety of wild edible plants.
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From Rome, the art of mustard production soon spread to France (dijon mustard) and the rest of the world. Now, it is time for me to try my hand at this ancient art. I like coarse, sharp mustard, so I found a recipe that called for whole brown mustard seeds. The website I used is here. I really recommend reading it if you want to make mustard.
First, I cracked six tablespoons of brown mustard seeds in a mortar and pestle. I then added half a cup of yellow mustard powder and two teaspoons of sea salt. To this, I added half a cup of cold water and three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
The thing about mustard seems to be that it has to stand for a period before use. I did taste a bit before putting it aside to rest, and must say that I was quite happy with the result, but the flavor was a bit bland.
The next morning, I checked the finished product. While it began quite fluid, it firmed up overnight to the proper texture, and the taste improved markedly. It is quite spicy, as I hoped, and the texture of whole mustard seeds really shines through. So much better than plastic-bottle yellow mustard!
~The Homesteading Hippy