Dan had the bright idea to make mustard for holiday gifts this year. At first, I wasn't convinced. Don't people want candy and spiced nuts, and other things you can tear open and eat right away? But then I thought about how many bottles of Dijon we go through in a year, and quickly changed my mind. Not only is mustard a surprising gift to receive, it's also very practical.
And for the gift-giver, it's also simple to make. It was much easier than any canning projects we have taken on, even though our mustard is also shelf-stable. Tracking down mustard seeds in bulk can be a little tricky, but once you have seeds, you're in business. All you have to is grind them up, then add some dry mustard, white wine, vinegar, water, and seasoning. A little ground tumeric is optional, but helps boost the color so you'll get a pretty, bright yellow condiment. The end result has a nice grainy texture and is on the spicy side, a bit like Chinese hot mustard. Over time, it mellows a bit, but when you first open the jar it definitely packs some heat.
You can keep the mustard in your refrigerator, but if you're giving it as a gift, it's best to make it shelf-stable by boiling it in water. Be sure to sterilize your jars and lids (boil them in hot water for 10 minutes, carefully remove with tongs to a clean, dry cloth) before you fill the jars with mustard. Once the jars are filled and tightly closed, carefully put them back in the boiling water for 15 minutes. This will seal the jars shut and preserve the mustard so you don't have to refrigerate it before you open the jars. (Like any condiment, after you open the jar, be sure to keep it in the fridge.)
Use your mustard to make vinaigrette, slather it on a hot dog or sandwich, to top roasted pork, make this pasta, or however else you like to eat it.
Grainy French-style mustard
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
(Makes about 2 cups, or 6 half-pint jars)
1 cup yellow mustard seeds
3 Tbsp. dried mustard
1 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. ground tumeric
salt and ground pepper to taste
In a spice grinder, coffee grinder, blender, or with a mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Set aside in a medium bowl. Add the dry mustard, water, vinegar, white wine, and tumeric. Stir until combined.