Mustard is made from black, brown or yellow mustard seeds and often a mixture. Yellow mustard seeds, sometimes referred to as white, are the mildest whilst black and brown seeds are the most pungent. The whole seeds are ground with water and vinegar plus optional flavourings, honey or herbs for example.
Mustard plants belong to the same family as broccoli and cabbage.
The name comes from Roman times, mustum ardens (must ard) – ‘burning or hot must’. They mixed mustard seeds with unfermented grape juice (must).
Mustard was cultivated by the Chinese more than 3,000 years ago and extensively used around the Mediterranean to spice up meat and fish dishes. It’s not clear if China exported their condiment to Europe or whether ancient Egyptians, Romans or Greeks developed it themselves.
Today, Canada and Nepal’s crops account for more than half of global mustard seed production.
A basic mustard is simply mustard powder and water with added salt and vinegar for flavour and preservation. It will probably dry out before it deteriorates.
Here’s a basic mustard recipe which makes around 500ml. Decant it into 250ml jars and one jar will make a very nice gift.
9 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
3 tablespoons brown/black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
If you want a milder mustard then soak the seeds in water first otherwise simply place the dry ingredients in a spice grinder and blend to a powder.
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly. Allow time for things to marry and mingle – about 2 hours then decant into cold sterilised jars. Use after a day or two.