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 I've also added a little salt for flavor, and included a mix of powdered and whole mustard seeds for texture.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Waiting time: 48 hours
Total Time: 48 hours, 5 minutes
Yield: 1/2 cup - recipe can be doubled
2 tablespoons whole brown or black mustard seeds
- 1/4 cup ground mustard seeds (powder)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 teaspoons apple cider or white wine vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
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 the recipe that follows, and it's 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.
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 other herb.
Add 2 tablespoons honey to the basic recipe.