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Monday, August 6, 2012

Cranberry Rhubarb Mustard

For the first 28 years of my life I didn't like mustard or pickles as condiments, only as ingredients in other things (say, in salad dressings).  I don't know exactly what changed, but I now love them both in any format.  I've finally realized that life is so much more delicious and interesting with an abundance of condiments.

I've made my own pickles before and so of course mustard was next on the list.  As with most recipes, there are oddles of variations--you can make it with vinegar only or with any number of alcoholic treats splashed in (bourbon, beer, wine).  Knowing I wanted to make some soonish, I raided the bulk bins of brown and regular mustard seeds at the co-op a month ago.  I knew Jennifer would be interested in making/canning our own mustard so I brought everything with me to Livermore, where our family descended a few weekends ago.  (We also made candied hot peppers and enough plum jam to last a lifetime.)

I lurked Pinterest for some fruit mustard recipes and found some promising rhubarb and cranberry varieties.  Having both "fruits" already I decided those two combined would be worth trying (rhubarb is a vegetable but it was growing in the front yard and I had a bag of cranberries in the freezer from Thanksgiving).  We used these two recipes (here and here) as a guideline for our concoction.

So this post won't really contain a recipe, just some helpful tidbits about making fruit mustard.

First: when the recipes call for "grinding" the mustard seeds, you should take that literally.  I tried using a food processor (for like, 10 minutes straight) but the seeds are so small and smooth that they whirl around instead of making any contact with the blade.  So be smart and use a mortar and pestle or a flour grinder, which is what we ended up doing.
10 minutes like this...
...led to this: pretty much all the seeds remained whole.
So my dad brought out his handy dandy flour grinder attachment for the KitchenAid.
I've used this to grind fresh flour for making bread and it is the slowest flour grinder ever.
But for a small quantity of seeds, it was perfect.
Second: cooking mustard powder in vinegar really does reduce the "heat" of the mustard.  If it's like horseradish root, it's because there is an enzyme that is deactivated with the addition of vinegar.  We wanted our mustard hot so we didn't simmer the mustard in the vinegar for more than about 2 minutes, just long enough to thoroughly heat the fruit + ground mustard + vinegar before filling our jars.

Third: the optional splash of sweet wine really makes these fruit mustards taste amazing.  We tasted it and kept adding a bit more until there was a good balance of sweetness and "mustardness."
Ingredients: 4 cups of fruit (chopped rhubarb and cranberries), 1.5 cups yellow mustard seeds,
1 cup brown mustard seeds,  3.5 cups cider vinegar.  Not shown: 1 cup brown sugar
(it added a caramelized flavor that would have been there from fenugreek; you could use maple syrup
in place of the sugar if you want that maple flavor).
We saved 1/4 of each of the seeds before grinding so we'd have lots of whole "grains" in the final sauce.
My dad bought this cheap bottle of marsala at Trader Joe's and it was pretty tasty.
We used about 0.5 cups.
This is what it looked like just before canning.  The lovely redness did diminish a bit during the 15 minute water bath process.  But taste is more important than appearances.

We canned it outside on this janky canning stove my grandpa built years and years ago.
It runs on a 220v circuit so it gets hot fast.  
The flavor is a nice combination of spicy mustard and tangy fruit.  I can't wait to try it on a roasted pork sandwich with slaw and crunchy pickles.  Mmmmmm!

1 comment:

Mariah said...

can you send me our stuff for making cottage cheese? I remember you did a long time ago but I don't know where to start! And I wants to make me some