ashley englishsmall measures

Small Measures: Homemade Mustard

by Ashley

My brother and I are 21 months apart (he’s the older one). When we were 7 and 9, he had a friend, Kevin, who was seriously goofy. Kevin was always making us laugh with his silly antics. One time, he arrived right when I was hosting a tea party for my stuffed animals. Ever the joker, he grabbed a kitchen towel, folded it elegantly over one arm and, posing as a butler serving my soiree, inquired, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” playing on the commercial that was seemingly in constant rotation circa ’84.

Kevin’s silliness aside, I’ve been a serious devotee of all things mustard since a young age. Dijon, spicy, brown, sweet, yellow, hot — I’ll take it pretty much any way I can get it. Much to my delight, I recently discovered that my beloved condiment is incredibly easy to make at home. A bit of mustard (either in powder or seed form) gets blended with some vinegar and, on occasion, flavor additions like herbs and seasonings. That’s it. Today I’m sharing three mustard recipes that you can whip up in short order. Now if someone asks (butler tone or not) if you’ve got any mustard on hand, you can reply, “But, of course — and it’s homemade.” — Ashley English

The full post continues after the jump . . .

Rather than reinvent the (mustard) wheel, I turned to three sources I always rely on for culinary inspiration. Spicy Honey Mustard is Marisa McClellan’s take on the hot mustard served at Chinese restaurants. It’s a hot one, to be sure, but it mellows over time. If you want more mustard ideas (or any stellar recipes for foods in jars, for that matter), check out her new book, Food in Jars. It’s some kind of wonderful.

Spicy Honey Mustard
Makes 2 cups

The Goods

  • 1 cup dry mustard
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


The Deal
1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot.

2. Whisk to blend and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 5–6 minutes.

3. When the mustard is thoroughly heated, ladle it into sterilized jars (leave 1/2-inch of head space if you plan to water-bath can the mustard).

4. Either refrigerate the mustard and consume within several weeks or water-bath process it for 10 minutes and use within one year.

Karen Solomon is another of my regular go-to sources for food “Eureka!” moments. Whether you want to whip up your own bottle of Limoncello, render some lard or make homemade pretzels, Karen is your woman. Her books Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Cooking Projects and Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It and Other Kitchen Projects are where I turn whenever I want to learn a new culinary skill. Here, I was inspired by her suggestions for creating a Wine & Fruit Mustard and made one using apple butter and apple cider vinegar.

Apple Butter Mustard
Makes 1 cup

The Goods

  • 1/2 cup powdered mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


The Deal
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

2. Cover and store in a cool, dark place.

3. Taste after 2 weeks. If it’s still too bitter, leave it alone for another week.

4. Once ready to eat, scrape it into a bottle and refrigerate.

Lastly, I turn to my buddy Chris. The art director on all five of my books with Lark Crafts, Chris is just as passionate about food as he is about art, travel, design and good living. I just adore him, and he always comes up with the best ideas. Here, he’s sharing his recipe for pickled mustard seeds. He showed up with some stellar deviled eggs topped with these beauties for a Southern foods potluck dinner that we hosted for my girl Jen back in April. They looked (and popped!) like little dollops of caviar and brought the eggs to a seriously heightened level of deliciousness.

Pickled Mustard Seed
Makes 2 1/2 cups

The Goods

  • 1 cup yellow mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 cups cider or white wine vinegar + 1/3–1/2 cup, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric

The Deal
1. Rinse mustard seeds and quickly drain. Pour into non-reactive saucepan and add vinegar and salt. Allow to soak overnight (or longer) uncovered at room temperature.

2. The next day, stir in the honey and turmeric (Foodie’s note: You can also add a huge variety of additional seasonings at this point: tarragon, black or green peppercorns, chipotles in adobo, ginger and lemongrass, etc.).

3. On the stovetop, bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 15–20 minutes. The seeds will expand and the mixture will bubble and sputter like polenta or grits, so stirring is important.

4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature uncovered. Mixture will become thicker and denser.

5. Finally, stir in 1/3 to 1/2 cup more vinegar to thin the mixture and to freshen the flavor.

6. Store pickled mustard seeds in jars, refrigerated, up to a year.

Note: Mustard seeds typically continue absorbing liquid for weeks. If the mixture becomes too dense, simply stir in a few spoonfuls of vinegar.

What about you? Got any beloved mustard recipes you’d like to share, or means of enjoying this globally loved spread? I’d love to hear them. Otherwise, there are three jars of freshly made mustard in my fridge, just begging to be taken outside, spread on a cracker, crowned with sharp cheddar and enjoyed with a contented summer sigh.

Photos and styling by Jen Altman

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  • Oh! This looks so delish.

    Before my hubs and I were dating we worked together. At work, we’d come up with silly morale-boosting days. One of them was “mustards of the world day”. Then we fell in love. So you see, mustard plays a huge part in our lives together. Haha.

  • I too am a lover of the Mustards Im so pleased that you shared these scrumptious recipes with us and Im very eager to try them all!

  • I am new to food in jars and am wondering, could all of these recipes be “canned” (as in sealed and stored in a cabinet) as well?

  • Oh, this might be the place to ask. I just returned from my first trip to France. I fell in love with the spicy mustard that seems to be at every cafe table. Any suggestions on how to replicate it? I haven’t found any brands here that come close to that spicy bite of the French stuff.

  • I’ve only tried to make mustard once and it turned out horribly, and I’m guessing it was because it was never cooked! Now I know and can make delicious mustard!! Hopefully I can make something half as good as the stuff I brought back from Paris on my honeymoon.

  • We have a cottage business making jams, jellies and sauces. We make our own honey dijon and other mustards based on our home made jellies and jams. When we get to the point where there are lots of partial jars of tangerine turbando sauce or red hot redhead jam, we make up a batch of mustard starting with seeds. We use half and half brown and yellow seeds, soaked in various vinegars, wine, or beer, and the choice bits of our other canning projects. We made a great batch flavored with locally produced honey and a dry blueberry wine made by a local vineyard. We discovered fruit syrups by being really new at canning jelly. The jelly failures became some of our best goodies, like the Pear Honey Syrup. That always make a great addition to the mustard crock. We soak the seed until it won’t absorb any more liquid, adding different layers of flavors by the liquids we use to soak the seed. When the seed stops absorbing fluid, it’s time for the Cuisinart. The biggest adjustments we have to make is the amount of liquid we add. Each batch is different. We have yet to produce a mustard that folks don’t ask for when they run out.

  • I love mustard–but I’ve never heard of using apple butter in mustard! Sounds super interesting–sweet and savory, hooray!

  • I’ve got to try this! We do our own pickles, why not mustard too? My husband loves to make things from scratch (something that I’ve grown an appreciation for)… these mustard recipes would go really well with the pretzels he makes! I might have to pick up those cookbooks too.

  • I’m saving this, I’m a fan of mustard and so is my boyfriend… I’m always looking for crafty present ideas so who knows, he might get homemade mustard for Christmas! haha

  • I’ve been curious about making my own mustard for a while now – I love spicy whole grain mustard, so the spicy honey mustard looks like a winner! The apple butter mustard sounds especially amazing too – how long will it last for once refrigerated? Can you can it?

  • Does anyone know if you can water bath process the pickled mustard seed recipe? Thanks for any info:)

  • I too would like to know if you can water process the pickled mustard seeds…seems like it would be okay, right?

  • Chris Bryant here. Pickled seed guy. You can process pickled seeds for sure. By the point of step 3 have hot sterilized jars and lids on hand and a simmering water bath at the ready. After step 3 add 1/2 cup vinegar and bring back to low boil. Pour into prepared jars, seal, and process in water bath for 15 minutes for pints or smaller, as with bread & butter pickles. Depending on seed moisture you may want to add a splash of vinegar after opening.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your recipes. I’ve made aioli for a long time and have just learned ho to make “heintz’ like ketchup the way they used to make it with sugar instead of corn whatever. Now onto mustard then to that horrible looking green delicious hot dog relish.

  • I have been searching for days looking for a whole-grain mustard recipe that doesn’t require alcohol for canning. Has anyone tried just doing the pickles mustard seeds and blending them a bit before canning? Also, Kit Thomas – would you mind sharing your ketchup recipe? I’ve been working on one for a while, and its just not the same. I do a sweet zucchini relish that’s fantastic (and nobody knows its not cucumber), and have made my own mayo for a while, so am definitely on the ‘homemade condiment kick.’