Making mustard is kind of like an exciting chemistry project that is hard to screw up. The foundation of all mustard is to soak mustard seeds in either vinegar or white wine, mash or blend them, and allow the mixture to ferment at room temperature for several days. That’s all there is to it, and that is the long process.
You can add herbs, flavored vinegar, sugar or other sweetners to create different flavored mustards. For this round, I wanted to make a simple spicy mustard as well as a more mild herb flavored one. I found a spicy mustard recipe here and was so excited that it was only two ingredients, mustard seeds and wine. That’s it. The taste was all in the wine and fermentation process.
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup white wine (chardonnay)
Combine in glass jar and cover tightly. Allow to ferment for 24-48 hours. Drain off all put a teaspoon of liquid and reserve. Mash seeds in mortar and pestle for a couple of minutes until the mustard reaches the consistency you desire in a coarse mustard. Add more of the reserved liquid if mash is too dry. Return to the jar and cover tightly and allow to ferment for at least a week. Leaving the jar in a warm temperature will allow the spiciness to increase. Refrigerate when you decide to use it or want to stop the fermentation process.
Since I was already making tarragon vinegar I was thrilled to find a recipe for tarragon green peppercorn mustard on Mother Earth News’ website. Not until I came across this recipe did I think to explore the nuances between peppercorns. I had heard that white pepper was slightly hotter and less coarse than black pepper but I thought my palate was too peasant-like to tell the difference. Wrong. Since the only green peppercorns I could find were in a mixture I bought some and separated out the colors. There truly was a difference in taste and scent, albeit very nuanced.
Tarragon Green Peppercorn Mustard
1/4 cup light or dark mustard seeds
1/3 cup tarragon white wine vinegar*
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
1 tablespoon green peppercorns, crushed in mortar and pestle
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Combine mustard seeds, vinegar, water and wine in a glass or ceramic bowl. Let sit for 4 hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Process to the desired consistency, from slightly course to creamy. Pour into the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour into sterilized jars, cap tightly, and allow to ferment at room temperature for several days.
*You can make your own tarragon white wine vinegar by steeping fresh tarragon in good white wine vinegar.