Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mean Mrs. Mustard

…Works in the shop,
She never stops,
She’s a go-getter…

I know that verse is about a woman named Pam, but I couldn't get that song out of my head when thinking of a title for this post. Ahem.

I love long weekends. One of the benefits of working for the government is the government holidays. I have tomorrow off, which is Veterans Day, and that makes for a nice, long weekend. This means I have more time to experiment in the kitchen and play with savory and spicy concoctions like mustard.

You see, I wanted to try a different approach this holiday season when it came to gift giving. For the past few years, I’ve been giving home preserved goodies in the form of jellies, jams, relishes, and salsas as small gifts for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They weren’t much, really. Just a little extra something outside of the ordinary cookie swap or holiday greeting card. It’s taken a little while to get my coworkers used to home preserved goods. I remember the first time I brought some in to give away; they looked at me like I had grown antlers out of my head. I guess people in Florida don’t can as much as they do up in the Midwest or further north, but now my coworkers snatch up any and everything I’m willing to share. They know a good thing now!

So this year, I thought I’d try my hand at mustard and maybe some other homemade condiments. Everyone loves ketchup and mustard, right? The new Ball Blue Book, “The Complete Book of Home Preserving” came out last year and included some spiffy new recipes for home preserved mustard. I decided to try the Ginger Garlic Mustard and the Oktoberfest Beer Mustard. My overall opinion of both mustards was meh. They both tasted especially bitter and not very mustardy at all. The mustard seeds I used were fresh from Penzey’s Spices, so I know the ingredient quality was there. Anyway, I’m glad that both recipes only made 4-5, 4 oz. jars, so at least I don’t have a million of these little jars to give away.

I’ve heard these things need to “age” a little while, so I’ve a little time to wait and see. If you're one of my family or friends reading this, try to act surprised when you get one of these as a gift, 'kay?


Anonymous said...

So....what happened?? Did they improve any with time??

Just the Right Size said...


Yes they did, especially the Ginger Garlic Mustard! But since then, I've made a few more batches and found the seeds really need to soak in the vinegar for as much as 2-3 days!

That's what was making them so bitter...the seeds hadn't absorbed the vinegar and needed MUCH more than a few hours to soak.

Happy canning!


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