Homemade Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar

Anyone my age remembers that Grey Poupon ad for mustard.  One limo drives up next to the other, and the dapper gentleman asks:  “Pardon  me, do you have any Grey Poupon”?  And with a heavy French accent (so you know it’s good) comes the response:  “but of course” as the jar of mustard is passed from one limo to the other.  And we’ve all learned the wonder that is Dijon mustard, so fine it’s even “made with white wine.”

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (5 of 5)

The smooth voiceover explains that fortunately not all of life’s pleasures need be expensive ones, and despite its pretensions, Grey Poupon is definitively a supermarket brand–I’m sure true food snobs would only serve their Alsatian choucroute garnie or Mangalitsa heritage breed bratwust with fancy  jars of small-batch mustards from zingerman’s or gilt taste.

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (4 of 6)

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (3 of 6)

It would be a lie to say that I don’t wistfully salivate at products like this, but it would also be a lie to say that I don’t feel guilty about plunking down that much for a jar of mustard.  As it is, every week I gawk in horror at the grocery bill–I don’t know why I keep thinking, “this week will be different.”  It’s sort of like how every night my kids are surprised that they do actually have to go to bed.  You know, just like every other night of their entire lives.

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (1 of 6) Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (1 of 5)

Some splurges I am willing to indulge in when it comes to food, but fortunately when it comes to mustard, I’ve learned there’s no need.  The homemade variety is incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious.  And it’s cool to make your own mustard!  Although I’ve really only dabbled in basic flavors, it’s endlessly customizable as well:  just see these amazing-looking recipes from Jammy Chicken, Local Kitchen, and Kiss My Spatula.  You make smooth mustards from a powder, grainy mustards from mustard seeds, use vinegar or your choice of alcohol, and add herbs and spices.  You could even whip up a bunch and can it, though since the raw ingredients keep so well and because it’s so easy to make single batches as needed, I don’t even bother.

The only caveat is that you need to start your mustard about a week before you want to use it.  There’s hardly any work, but it does take a few days of waiting:  making mustard is a fascinating lesson in how flavor can mellow and change over time.  You’ve certainly seen recipes for soups and stews that are “even better the next day.”  With mustard, you go from a product that is so pungent as to be almost inedible to something deliciously sharp and flavorful.  (I’m not kidding about this:  when tasted too early, even repeat batches of mustard have sent me running to my pantry to be sure the vinegars I’d used hadn’t gone off.  Can vinegar even go off?  I don’t know).  Don’t be scared off–it mellows relatively quickly (in a matter of days) so you will soon be enjoying your concoction.  And thereafter it will keep for months in your fridge.

So, advertising doesn’t lie:  of the finer things in life happily some are affordable.  And delicious and easy to make to boot!  Bon Appetit!

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (3 of 5)

(And, while unrelated to mustard, on the topic of 80’s  ads, I can’t resist linking to this one for Bugle Boy).

Homemade Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar  (adapted from Mark Bittman)

Notes: Mark Bittman says to be sure to use an equal mix of brown and yellow mustard seeds else the final result will be too acrid.  I’ve had a hard time finding brown mustard seeds in the stores, so I order online from The Spice House, though I recently realized that black seeds are often stocked in large bags in the Indian foods section.  That being said, I’ve seen many recipes that rely solely on one or the other so you can try one of the links I mentioned above or do a quick google search if you’re having trouble.   You could also use a recipe that relies on mustard powder if you don’t have a blender.  I’ve said it already, but the raw ingredients are so cheap that you can happily experiment away!

  • 2T yellow mustard seeds
  • 2T brown or black mustard seeds
  • 1/4c water
  • 1/4c champagne or white wine vinegar (5% or more acidity)
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • pinch salt
Put all the ingredients in a jar that can be well sealed with a tight-fitting plastic lid.  (Don’t use metal because the acid in the vinegar will corrode it).  Shake and then set in the fridge for 2 days.  As you can see from the pictures above, the seeds will absorb the liquid.
Pour into a blender and puree for a few minutes until reaching the desired level of graininess.  Stir down a few times with a rubber scraper while processing.  Add salt if needed.  Taste it and see if you like it, otherwise set it aside for a few more days in the fridge and let it mellow and thicken.  This keeps for several months in the fridge.

Homemade Mustard (Balsamic Vinegar) (6 of 6)


24 thoughts on “Homemade Mustard with Balsamic Vinegar

  1. Unbelievable, after all this time I’ve never thought to make my own mustard with seeds (done it plenty of times with hot Asian mustard powder). Thanks for the reminder. The best things in life aren’t free, but they may be cheap! Ken (who uses wine all the time)

  2. You have totally inspired me to get in the kitchen and make mustard this morning! I’ve had it on my DIY list for ages. My taste buds are tingling thinking about it. Love the Bugle Boy ad – brings back memories!

  3. I tried this with white wine before and really loved it. I also once tried soaking the seeds just until they were about to sprout and then ground them to make a mustard. It was a little too sweet and some of the fire was gone but it is an idea worth playing with I think…

  4. Great post. I’d never really thought about making mustard — just realized this weekend that, joy, we’re out of Dijon-style again. This is a definite must-do. We have (amazingly enough) an Indian grocery store in this border town, and their ingredients are super cheap, so I’ll get the seeds from there. Thanks!

    • Thanks! I didn’t realize that Indian grocery stores would have brown/black seeds until after I’d ordered online. That and cardamom pods are such a good deal!

  5. Making your own mustard does sound like a fun project and no doubt you would have some tasty results. I always like having homemade recipes for condiments that we use on a regular basis, so I am glad I stopped in. Have a great day.

  6. Those were great commercials. I think we grew up in a time of good tv programming, before we had to mute ALL the commercials. I adore mustard and balsamic- it’s high time I make my own mustard! Thanks!

    • Ha–speaking of muting ads, I thought I was crazy as they always seemed so much louder than the show–made a lot more sense when I learned that they really are broadcast more loudly.

    • I just ordered them on amazon! They are made by Ball (who makes the mason jars) and they can be found in regular and wide-mouth sizes. They are great for open jars of jam and also for really acidic things like this where the metal would corrode from the vinegar.

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