Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cutting the Mustard

I have no clue where the term "cut the mustard" came from, but mustard is a hard little seed. I don't have a spice mill (yet), and my mini food processor can't handle being on all that long. So I soaked mine in vinegar to soften them up before using my processor. I only meant to do it for a few days, maybe a week. But after a month it was still soaking in the fridge. So I finally got it done. Mustard is actually very easy to make. Provided of course that you use powdered mustard or have the appropriate appliance to cut your mustard or powder it as the case may be.

Though we only use the traditional yellow mustard on occasion. I did make a version of that. It does come out different when you don't powder your mustard in advance. It is much more rustic. However I don't like the use of the white vinegar. I think cider vinegar would be much better. The white is too pushy.

The second one I made was a typical brown mustard, which is one of my favorite types of mustards. I didn't have the Oriental mustard seed which would have made it spicier, but I liked it quite a lot.

The third was a honey mustard. I just took the brown mustard and mixed in honey in about a 2:1 ration of mustard to honey. So not too sweet. All three mustards are nice. Most of the recipes tell you to let them mellow for a couple of weeks in the fridge, but I'd had them in vinegar in the fridge for a month and I thought that plenty. They are slightly spicier than the versions you find in the market, but not much more. I'm still hoping to play around with different kinds of mustards in the future. Thyme seems pretty popular, but I'd love trying one with allspice. And also one with beer. And if I ever get fruit from my trees, I'd love to try a peach mustard. The flavors seem like they ought to mix well. I'm not sure my other fruit would be a good pairing. The idea of strawberries or blueberries with mustard doesn't sound all that good.

For lunch today I had my honey mustard on a bagel and turkey sandwich. Yummy. As sides I had a bean salad (black beans and turnips from the garden) and some bread and butter pickles that I canned last summer. Does anyone else like making mustard? Do you have favorite recipes?

11 comments:

  1. Daphne, I have never MADE mustard, but I like eating it when it is used wisely - I find that people often use far too much of it for my liking. I once was presented with a ham sandwich which had as much mustard in it as ham, and it was vile.

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    1. Oh I so agree. We often walk down to a bagel place on Sunday mornings (about 1.5 miles from our house so a nice walk there and back). But the sandwiches they make have WAY too much mustard. I always tell them just a little. Sometimes they listen.

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  2. I had dreams of making mustard thinking I would use seeds for B&B pickles and then use the leftovers. Wrong. My mustard plants never grew! LOL I thought it would be fun to make for Christmas gifts. Maybe next year.

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  3. Your mustards sound good. I have never made mustard but hope to someday! Thanks for posting about it. Nancy

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  4. I have never grown or made my own mustard but am getting more and more interested in it the more I read about how easy it is to do. We don't eat very muc of it though which makes me hesitate... of course if it turned out well it would make some nice homemade gifts.

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  5. Daphne, what variety of mustard did you plant? I'd like to try it this coming year.

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    1. I couldn't find a source of named varieties. So I just planted the mustard seed from the store. I used yellow and brown mustard.

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    2. I have a McCormick's brand yellow mustard seed container in my cabinet. I'll be on the lookout for brown mustard seed.

      Do I need to soak the seeds first? I may try winter sowing them as well as starting them the conventional way.

      I have to say that I am a great fan of yours -- I look forward to reading your posts every day. I live in Westboro MA, about 30 miles from you, and use your planting schedule as a guideline.

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    3. I didn't do anything special to the seeds though I did seed rather thickly. Last year I planted them in mid April and harvested them in July. I'm really puzzling out my rotations though. I can easily fit two sections of them in if I plant them in the summer and mature in the fall, but I don't think mustard likes that. I think they will all bolt before the plant has the energy for it. But I may try anyway to see what happens.

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  6. I tried to let my mustard plants go to seed this year but the flowering season co-incides with the worst time of the year for aphids here and they ate all the flower heads. Very Annoying! I think I will buy some seed and give making it a go though - I use mustard a fair bit - particularly dijon.

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