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Granted, salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, and bread and butter are historic seasoning and food partners, but in the condiment world, perhaps none is greater than ketchup and mustard.
Whether used separately or together, these red and yellow, liquid-like foods are essential ingredients in recipes. However, they are equally enjoyed on their own as dips, spreads or glazes. Each has taken its turn making headlines. For example, ketchup made headlines in the early 80s, when the USDA classified it as a vegetable for purposes of nutritional analysis as part of the nation’s school lunch program. (Don’t feel bad ketchup; pickle relish was too.)
And while mustard’s US sales still lag behind ketchup’s, ($508 million to ketchup, $743 million in 2012), mustard gained 11 percent in sales since 2007, making it America’s fastest-growing condiment.
So now, it looks like it’s mustard’s turn. But unlike ketchup, mustard is getting good press, as foodies and their flocks are re-discovering mustard’s amazing diversity and universal appeal.
Phrases like “Mustard is the NEW butter or the NEW mayonnaise” and “Mustard is THE current It condiment” are turning up in ads and on the lips of food personalities and food writers (like this one). Such talk is particularly popular with the health-conscious crowds that understand the benefits of mustard’s simple ingredients.
And most food insiders believe mustard’s last six years of meteoric sales are only the beginning.
Just as orange juice once proclaimed that it “wasn’t just for breakfast anymore,” mustard is gaining some independence from the hot dog. It’s now being internationally touted as a zesty addition to summer barbecue recipes; as a glaze on roast beef; a dip for soft pretzels; and a key ingredient in casseroles, dressings and even gravies.
Adding to the mustard mania are the manufacturers that produce fruit-flavored mustard, bacon mustard, and numerous products featuring special wines and beers.
Mustard has become the latest food-fashion statement as chefs, and even bartenders, explore all sorts of new ways to incorporate mustard seeds and prepared mustard into their cuisine and cocktails. And at the newly opened Avant at San Diego’s Rancho Bernardo Inn, Chef Nicolas Bour is offering a house-made mustard on tap (just like beer, except in smaller quantities).
The good news is you don’t have to be a chef to make really good mustard of your own. As a matter of fact it’s, like, stupid easy, and making some would be a wonderful tribute to honor National Mustard Day, which is August 3rd.
There are basically three ways you can make prepared mustard, and I’ll give you a recipe for one (version #3) to get you started.
- You use powdered mustard and stir in the liquids and seasonings.
- You use whole seeds, soak them in the liquids and seasonings, and then blend them to your desired smoothness.
- Use both powdered and whole mustard. Soak and blend as in recipe type #2.
Yellow Table Mustard
Makes about 1 Cup
6 TBSP Mustard Seeds (In general, the darker the seeds, the stronger and spicier the mustard will be.)
½ Cup Mustard Powder
3 TBSP Cider or Sherry Vinegar
½ Cup White Wine or Water
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Brown Sugar
pinch Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Shallot (Chopped)
- Crush the mustard seeds with the bottom of a small pot or in a mortar and pestle, and place all ingredients in a non-reactive bowl, soaking for 4 to 6 hours, covered.
- Place the mixture in a blender or use a handheld immersion (stick) blender, and blend until smooth. You may blend less to make your mustard more coarse, if desired.
Optionally, you can add these ingredients afterwards:
- Honey Mustard Add 2 TBSP Honey
- Horseradish Mustard Add 2 TBSP Prepared Horseradish
- Tarragon Mustard Add 2 to 3 TBSP Chopped, Fresh Tarragon
Store your newly prepared mustard in a sterilized jar or a plastic storage tub. It will have a refrigerated shelf life of about one month.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Fresh mustard has a bitter, sharp taste, as the ingredients have not yet marinated together. YOU MUST allow at least two days before giving your mustard a true taste test.
If you try making your own mustard by following this easy recipe, share your experience with me in the comments below!