At it's most basic, the condiment we call mustard, also called "prepared mustard," is just the seeds of the mustard plant plus water. Adding vinegar or another acid preserves the spiciness. Without it, the mustard becomes bland with time.
In this basic recipe, a little salt has been added for flavor. A mix of powdered and whole mustard seeds are included for texture.
When mustard seeds are broken (lightly crushed or ground to a fine powder) and exposed to liquid, a reaction takes place that results in the spicy hot taste of the condiment.
In this recipe and its variations, keep in mind that black mustard seeds are the hottest variety and that starting out with cold liquid results in a hotter taste than if you use warm liquid. So, if you like your mustard hot, use black mustard seeds and cold liquid. For a milder flavor, stick to yellow (sometimes called white) mustard seeds and use warm liquid.
- 2 tablespoons whole mustard seeds (brown or black)
- 1/4 cup ground mustard seeds (powder)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 teaspoons apple cider (or white wine vinegar)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Grind the seeds in a spice grinder for 15 seconds. You don't want to completely reduce the seeds to a powder - they should still be mostly whole, but just a little bit crushed. Alternatively, have at with a mortar and pestle.
- Combine the slightly crushed seeds, mustard powder and salt in a small bowl. Stir to mix the dry ingredients. Mix in the wet ingredients. The mustard may seem soupy at this stage. Don't worry - it will thicken up as the mustard seeds and powder absorb the liquids.
- Cover and store at room temperature for 2 days before using. This wait time is important, and not just because it allows time for the mustard to thicken up. Freshly made mustard has a harsh, bitter taste. That bitterness mellows as the mustard ages.
- After the 2 -day wait, transfer the mustard to a clean glass jar(s). Cover tightly.
- Mustard will keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 months. For longer storage at room temperature, using 1/4 or 1/2-pint canning jars and lids and process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Spicy Beer Mustard
Use cold beer instead of the water and add 1 teaspoon of honey.
- White Wine and Tarragon Mustard
Use white wine instead of the water. Use tarragon vinegar or another herbal vinegar instead of the plain kind. Or use plain cider or wine vinegar, but add 1 - 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or another herb.
- Honey Mustard
Add 2 tablespoons honey to the basic recipe.