Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Penny Saved . . . Sometimes Ruins Your Mustard

Ten pounds of chocolate fudge was made yesterday.

I've been busy this week. I've started making things for my neighbors' holiday bags. I usually enjoy making treats and giving them away. Often the treats involve fudge as you see above. I think I've only given away baskets without fudge one year. Even though it was two decades ago (my daughter was six, she is now twenty six), I still remember that one. We made holiday cookies from around the world and the kids helped make little flags on toothpicks to mark which country they came from. Recently my bags have included fudge, jam, and lots of cookies. This year I want to add a little bit of more healthy fare into it. I'm going to make some good for you granola. And I wanted to make some mustard. Today was the day I would make the mustard. All except the beer mustard as I don't have a good ale for that right now.

I got my three recipes together. A Dijon and two sweet mustards. I started with the Dijon. I picked a Sauvignon Blanc that was nice but not too expensive. I cooked it all up. I tasted it part way through and it was delicious. But after it was done it tasted terrible and bitter. What had gone wrong? I've made mustard before and not had a problem.

Discouraged but not stopped I made a honey mustard. I figured maybe the Dijon had cooked so long it had reacted with my pan (which is stainless and shouldn't react). But no. The honey mustard was thick without much cooking at all. And it too was just disgusting and bitter. To me it seemed like the salt tasted off. And I was right. I tasted the salt in my salt container and oh my gosh it was disgusting. Usually I use a Trader Joe's sea salt, but had run out this week. I knew I'd get there on Friday. I could have picked up some more expensive sea salt from the regular grocery store when I was there, but nope. I'd wait until I got to Trader Joe's. Since I had an old salt in the back of my cabinet, I figured it would be good enough until it was replaced. I have no idea what salt this was. It was recontainered into one of my own air tight containers years ago. I've never had a salt taste bad before.

So for the third mustard I used my canning salt. And oh the mustard tastes so good. Yum. So I tried to save a bit of money and I ended up having to throw away two batches of mustard. And even worse. That Sauvignon Blanc that I opened ought to be saved for more Dijon mustard. Nah! I'll just have it for dinner and buy some more tomorrow.


  1. I would have never thought to taste the salt 1st, who would have thought that salt could go bad????

  2. Oh, I am sorry your two batches of mustard did not turn out. I didn't know salt would go bad either. That fudge sure looks good. I would eat a piece right now if it was sitting on my counter!! Nancy

  3. How unusual. Salt is often used as a preservative, so you wouldn't expect it to go off. Maybe it had been contaminated with something.

  4. Seeing that fudge brings back memories for me, My mother used to make lots of fudge every year and give it away for presents. I helped her make it when her arthritis got bad and she couldn't stir it by herself. I'll bet the recipients enjoy their homemade goodies.

    I ruined a batch of mustard last year by using some cheap ground mustard. But I never would have thought about salt tasting bad. That is a shame.

  5. After that I would definitely have had the wine for dinner too. I too would never have believe that salt would impact the taste that much. I guess it does take on flavour though so perhaps it was stored with the wrong thing? I love your biscuits of the world idea - I will definitely attempt that one with the kids.

  6. Hi Daphne, I love to read your blog...long time reader, infrequent commenter!

    Making Mustard - I've been doing it for years.

    Generally, you never cook a mustard, that's where the bitter came from.
    The process in a nutshell:
    put your mustard powder, mustard seeds and salt in a large glass measuring cup. Add boiling liquid - whatever its going to be wine, water, syrup. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
    allow mixture to stand - this step is where you get your long term mustard "bite".
    then add your herbs, spices flavorings.
    allow to stand at room temperature, for a few days, if you want a smooth mustard put 1/2 or as much as you want smooth, in a blender.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the tip. Last year I think the recipes I used didn't require any cooking of the mustard. But the Dijon recipe does require it as does the honey mustard. But I can look for other recipes that don't require cooking. The one that did come out good was cooked. But it was cooked over a double boiler as it had eggs in it. I might do some experimentation to see how high it needs to be to turn bitter. Though the salt I had was really the worst bitter taste so even if cooking did turn them bitter, the salt added a lot of it.

  7. How frustrating to go through all that and be sunk by salt of all things! I've never heard of salt going off, I'll be more vigilant now- although salt doesn't usually last that long in my kitchen, unless it's the cheap stuff for making playdough! (and therefore not for cooking!)

  8. I didn't know that salt could go bad. But I guess anything is possible. I've never done gifts baskets but you might have just given me the motivation to do so this year!

  9. Sorry about your mustard, didn't think salt would do that.