Now is the time of year that many folks start thinking about making homemade gifts for family and friends. It won’t be long before my wife and I start making soap again for gifts and for our own use. And I’m guessing we will be making some lotions and other homemade potions too. But I’ve got another suggestion for a unique homemade gift that is surprisingly easy to make and incredibly tasty too: mustard!
If you don’t know already, this popular condiment is made from ground up mustard seeds, which are the dried seeds of several different species of mustard plants. Mustard seeds also come in various colors, with black and brown seeds generally being hotter and spicier than the yellow ones. Mustard seeds are available in specialty stores as well as by mail order (I got mine from Penzeys). You can also sometimes find them in ethnic groceries, since the whole seeds are popular in many of the world’s cuisines.
Last year I made a couple of different homemade mustards. One was a Spicy Brown mustard and the other was a Dijon. The Spicy Brown was my favorite, and my wife loved it too. It had a great flavor and texture, and I wound up making another batch of it again a few months ago when the first batch ran out. This year I decided to branch out and try another mustard recipe. I wound up making a mustard using only yellow seeds that is a bit milder than the Spicy Brown Mustard, but still tastes great and can be customized to suit your own tastes. The seeds are soaked for 2 days in vinegar, which helps to soften up the seeds for processing.
Don’t think ‘ballpark mustard’ when you see this recipe. This mustard has a nice grainy texture and a lovely taste that is mild but definitely not boring. Use a good quality vinegar since it will be a big taste component of the finished product. My recipe calls for using turmeric and allspice, but you can experiment with different spices to make a unique one-of-a-kind mustard you can call your own.
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