Eat This, Nerds. I Made Mustard.

I did the Goop thing for a while, but I couldn't keep it up forever. There are so many ways I can say, "Wow, this vegan/gluten-free dessert/pasta/smoothie is surprisingly tasty and might also ruin your diet!"

So, I decided to change directions a little bit. I was at the grocery store the other day with the smallfolk; and as we were roaming the produce section, Boy Child pointed out the pickling cucumbers. He asked why they were small, and I said that people used them to make pickles. "Can you make your own pickles, mom?" he wondered. I hemmed and hawed, but then I thought, "Hell yeah, I can make my own pickles."

Fast forward to me back at my house, perusing my Kindle Fire (as our ancestors were wont to do), reading a pickle recipe in this America's Test Kitchen (naturally) cookbook I had purchased a few months ago and never used. The pickle recipe actually seemed doable, as so many America's Test Kitchen recipes do. Same went for the Nutella recipe, and the Fritos recipe, and the (holy shit what) Oreo cookies recipe.

'Twas then that I decided I'd make one of these recipes a week (or so; don't quote me on that) and tell you all how it turned out. I obviously can't copy the recipes into my posts, but I can tell you how the process went, how it compared to the "real" thing, how much it cost, if it was worth the hassle, and if I'd do it again. I'm also planning on trying some variations on their basic recipes, just to see how other options play out.

If you'd like to play along at home, here's the book, America's Test Kitchen DIY.

And now...onto the mustard.

I decided to start with mustard because A) I'm a freak for mustard and B) the recipe looked really simple and hard to frak up.

Basically, all you need are some mustard seeds, vinegar, beer, sugar, and salt. That's it. I'd suggest making the recipe as-is the first time, and then modifying to your tastes after that. For instance, I was looking for an everyday kind of mustard, something for my turkey sandwich. These mustards came out a little spicy for lunchtime (but perfect for dipping pretzels and smearing on bratwurst), so in the future I might adjust the ratio of yellow to brown seeds and let the mustard age for a shorter period of time.

Anyway, I was all ready to go last Sunday. The family and I went grocery shopping at Mariano's, and I was quite smug. Of course Mariano's would have everything I needed. They always have everything I need. But they didn't have brown mustard seeds, a must for this recipe. They had yellow mustard seeds, no problem. But they were lacking in the brown department.

Undeterred, I went to Whole Foods. Of course Whole Foods has brown mustard seeds, don't be ridiculous. I bought over a cup each of the yellow and brown seeds (enough for about three jars of mustard), and it cost me around $5. I had the vinegar and beer at home, so no skin off my teeth there.

The main thing to remember when making your own mustard is that it's a slow process. You can't start making mustard at breakfast and expect to have it ready to go for your neighborhood BBQ. The whole thing takes about 3-4 days, so plan accordingly. Also, I think I'm going to need to invest in glass jars, or at least start keeping the glass jars I use at home, because most of the recipes in this book call for glass jars.

THE MUSTARD RUNDOWN:

Cost: $7 (including glass jar), but this made me two batches of mustard with enough left over for one more.

Is it like real mustard?: It's SO like real mustard. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it IS real mustard!

Ease of Process: Super easy. Ridiculously easy, and fun.

Would I Make This Again?: Definitely. I'd love to try adding new flavors (honey...other stuff) and liquids (bourbon, apple cider) to the mustard, and experimenting with heat levels and blending times.

How about you? Would you consider making mustard? Are there any other condiments you'd like to try your hand at making from scratch?

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Filed under: News & Views, Uncategorized

Tags: cooking

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