Ever since we started making our own mustard at Cornersmith, production hasn’t stopped! As well as selling lots in our shop at the picklery, we use it in all sorts of dishes in the cafe, including our take on a Reuben sandwich, our ploughman’s plate and with pork chops. We tweak our mustard according to the time of year, using sage in autumn, horseradish or rosemary in winter, and thyme in spring. Mustard is such a great food to make from scratch, with lots of opportunities to experiment with different flavours, so feel free to try using other herbs, or to add freshly chopped herbs when serving. A jar of homemade mustard also makes an impressive gift.
- 210 g (7½ oz) yellow mustard seeds
- 210 g (7½ oz) brown mustard seeds
- 160 ml (5¼ fl oz) boiling water
- 40 g (1½ oz) fine salt
- 125 g (4½ oz) honey
- 470 ml (16½ fl oz) cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp chopped sage
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat-processing time 15 minutes
Maturing time 3-4 weeks
Grind two-thirds of the mustard seeds into a fine powder using a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder – you’ll probably need to do this in a few batches. Tip the mustard powder into a large bowl, then add the rest of the mustard seeds and the boiling water. Leave to sit for 5 minutes.
Mix the salt and honey into the vinegar until well combined, then whisk into the mustard mixture. Transfer the mustard to a non-reactive container and leave in the fridge to mature for 3–4 weeks.
Fold in the chopped sage before packing the mustard into cool sterilised jars (see Note). Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. For longer storage, heat-process for 15 minutes (see Note), then store for up to 2 years. Refrigerate after opening.
• Use good-quality jars made of thick glass, such as those available from kitchen supply stores. Cheap jars from discount stores often have thin glass, which tends to become brittle at high temperatures.
• To sterilise jars or bottles, give them a wash in hot soapy water and a good rinse, then place in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 110ºC (225ºF/gas mark ½) and, once it has reached temperature, leave the jars in the oven for about 10 minutes or until completely dry, then remove them carefully.
• Also called water bathing or canning, heat-processing uses heat to stop the growth of bacteria. Treating your preserves in this way has two benefits: it lengthens their shelf life, and it ensures the jars or bottles are sealed correctly.
Get the biggest pan you have, such as a stockpot and put it on the stove pot. Lay a folded tea towel in the bottom of the pan, then sit your jars on the tea towel, taking care not to cram them in and keeping them clear of the sides of the pan. (All these measures are to stop the jars from wobbling around and cracking as the water boils.) Roughly match the water temperature to the temperature of the jars (to help prevent breakages form thermal shock), then pour in enough water to cover the jars, either completely or at least until three-quarters submerged. Bring to the boil over medium heat. The heat-processing time given in the recipe starts from boiling point.
You may expect one or two breakages when you’re starting out – the worst that can happen is that the remaining jars will swim in pickles or jammy water for the rest of the processing time. Just keep going, then take the surviving jars out at the end and give them a wipe down. If they all break, you have our permission to have a gin and a lie-down!
Once the heat-processing time is up, the lids should be puffed up and convex. Carefully remove the hot jars from the water. If you’ve bought some clamps, now is the time to use them, or you can use oven mitts and a thick cloth to protect your hands. Line your jars up on the bench and let them sit overnight. As they cool, a vacuum will form inside each jar and suck down the lid, sealing them securely. In the morning, the lids should be concave: either get down to eye level with the top of the jar to check for the tell-tale dip in the lid, or lay a pencil across each lid to show the cavity below it. If you have concerns about the seal of any of your jars (sometimes a couple of jars fail to seal correctly), store them in the fridge and use their contents within a few weeks.
Recipe and image from Cornersmith: Recipes from the Café and Picklery by Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant (Murdoch Books, $49.99, hbk).
View our Readable feasts review and more recipes from the book here.