Meet my mustard.
Many moons ago, I set myself a simple mission: to make my own hot, seeded and excellent-flavoured mustard. Why? I wanted to see if I could make something better than the offerings from my local stores, and I wanted to do achieve this using only wholefood ingredients.
The event that sparked this mission was my failed search for a ‘natural’ hot English mustard. I was annoyed to find that the most common brands incorporate nondescript vegetable oils, soy lecithin, spices and/or spice extracts, all of which send my GM and MSG radars into a spin.
I did manage to source a smooth variety of ‘strong’ yellow mustard that used wholefood ingredients, however its heat was disappointing and I had to wonder as to whether this has something to do with the way it was treated after manufacture, as high temperature destroys the spicy heat of mustard’s volatile compounds.
In my reading about mustard-making, I have discovered that mustard is really very simple to make and the main determinant of a mustard’s hotness is the heat (mainly of the liquids used) in preparation. This works in an inversely proportional relationship, ie. the colder the water, the hotter the mustard. Success seemed too easy after I found these little facts so, armed with the Instructables instructions, I gave myself two sub-missions: (1) to grow enough seeds to make my own mustard; and (2) to make my mustard raw.
Along the way, I also discovered that you need a LOT of seeds and even more patience when it comes to the harvesting. I harvested 12-15 plants with mature seed pods from different parts of my garden, dried them in a paper bag for two weeks, then spent hours de-podding and collecting the seeds with the help of various others on the way. And then, after more time spent winnowing away the pod membranes that refused to part with the seeds, I measured out the fruits of my labour. Six tablespoons’ worth of seeds. Somewhat demoralising.
With this, my plans for a totally homegrown mustard were dashed — but I did have just enough to make up the ‘seeded’ component of my mustard.
Recipe #144: Hannah’s Strong & Very Yummy Mustard [which is also a basically raw recipe — except for the coconut flower nectar]. These are exactly the ingredients and quantities that I used. Please feel free to substitute for your own tastes and pantry.
You will need:
► 6 Tbsp of oriental (purple osaka) mustard seeds, soaked for 3 days in the fridge
► 1/2 cup of yellow mustard powder
► 3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar
► 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric
► 1 tsp of finely ground Himalayan salt
► 1/2 cup of very cold water [I cooled mine with iceblocks, but didn’t used the ice itself]
► 1 heaped tsp of coconut flower nectar
Method: Pulse all ingredients together in a blender, food processor or Thermomix until you have the consistency you want. This took me only a few seconds because I wanted to see the seeds in my mustard.
Easy peasy, right? Now comes the really hard part: leave your mustard alone in the fridge for 2-3 days. If you can hold off for this long, your mixture will thicken and lose the bitterness that is present in the fresh mustard and you will be happier with the result, which is very awesome with the combination of orange-infused labneh* and olive & onion sourdough ciabatta (both homemade, of course! And that includes the olives — homecured according to Claire’s award-winning recipe).
On tasting, the flavour and heat of my mustard is great, however I do have one complaint: the bite dissipates within a few moments. It packs a wasabi punch that is sock-knocking then suddenly not.
This brings me to my next mission: to give more length to my mustard. I want a more lingering heat to my hot mustard, and this calls for more research and experimentation.
I am very happy with this first attempt, even though I only managed a single jar (plus a tiny sample pot) from my harvest — and that came with a lot of help from store-bought yellow mustard powder. I constantly marvel at the number of ingredients and combined efforts (from human hands and mother nature) that contribute to even the simplest of recipes, and this appreciation increases with every ‘from scratch’ recipe I attempt.
Even though my ingredients are locally grown/produced in the main, I realise that the mustard, apples, turmeric, Himalayan salt and coconuts on which my recipe relies are not native to the Perth metro area. This extends my supply chain for the base ingredients to at least three continents. I have so many people (across cultures and generations!) to thank for my humble jar of mustard.
Please let me know if you make your own mustard at home; I would love to learn from any tips and variations you can share.
* Recipe #145: Homemade Labneh [aka “labna”]. Use some muslin, cheesecloth or a nutmilk bag as the cloth for the straining, over a bowl or jug.
You will need:
► 1kg of Greek-style yoghurt
► 1 tsp of finely ground salt (to taste)
Method: Mix the yoghurt with the salt. Place the yoghurt in cloth and tie so that it can hang into a bowl/jug — or use a strainer lined with cloth, over a bowl/jug, aided with a heavy weight (like a plate or mortar). Hang at least overnight, and for 2-3 days if you can.
You can leave the labneh plain and use it as you would a soft goat’s cheese. Alternatively, you can store it with a herb/essential oil-infused olive oil, or roll teaspooned balls of it in your favourite flavours. My absolute favourite way to prepare/present labneh: fresh sprigs of marjoram with teaspoons of labneh in tangerine-infused olive oil (3-4 drops of tangerine essential oil in olive oil). This does not last in my house.