Pardon me, do you have any...?
December 8, 2011 5:17 PM   Subscribe

I recently embarked on a massive holiday mustard making campaign. I have two questions regarding the success of this campaign.

1. I want to send mustard to some of my friends and family who live out of state. How well can I expect the mustard to keep if I ship it cross-country (I live in the United States).

2. I made this mustard recipe, and it turned out a little runnier than I expected. What's the best way to thicken mustard? More ground mustard/mustard flour? Just wait until the mustard seeds have soaked up all the moisture?

posted by baniak to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: There are some great mustard-making recipes and tips (how to thicken etc.) in this L.A. Times article that just came out!
posted by argonauta at 5:54 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: 1. Are you canning it in a boiling water bath? That's the best way to ensure that it keeps not only while it's in transit, but until the recipients decide to open it. Boiling water bath canning is actually very simple (memail me if you want a quick-and-dirty lesson) and not at all intimidating. If you're bottling them in half-pint jelly jars, you don't really even need a canner. A big pot will do.

If you ARE canning, note that you'll want to make the mustard a bit on the spicy side. Heat will tame it. You're probably going to be cooking it on the stovetop for a bit, and then processing it for 10 minutes longer in boiling water. Stop cooking when it's still a bit pungent and it will retain more of its kick after processing.

2. If you're using whole seeds, you want to soak them, then whizz them until they're at the texture you prefer. Then, cook. You thicken by cooking it further down. The longer it cooks, the thicker (and tamer) it gets. If it gets too thick, add a little liquid to thin it out.

Note that if you do process your mustards in a boiling water bath, you need to make sure that the recipe has enough acid to make it safe for preservation (i.e., inhospitable to bacteria).

I second the LA Times article that argonauta linked to. It has some great tips and recipes. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has some good ones as well, and is most likely available in your local library. It's sort of the bible of home canning, so all of the recipes are safe and it will give you lots of advice on how to preserve your goods.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:46 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

All you really need to worry about when sending the mustard in the post is keeping it from breaking, and we've never had a problem when sending our mustard cross country to friends and family.

We do a lot of canning at our house, and we give our canned items out as gifts instead of a bottle of wine. Mustard is always the most popular and re-requested gift....

Once the mustard has gone through the boiling water bath, it will keep possibly forever without any special care. I currently have some banana pepper mustard in the basement that is 4 years old; I should open a can to see if it ages like a fine wine.
posted by lstanley at 6:07 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

My partner and I made mustard to give as party favors for our wedding so I think you're awesome for this.

It'll be super runny until you blend it and even then, give it a couple more days to thicken up in your refridgerator. I don't think you need to can it, mustard keeps surprisingly well, unless you don't think they'll crack it open for awhile. I'm still finding little 1 oz. jars tucked away into boxes that I more than happily open up and use.
posted by Marinara at 8:51 AM on December 9, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! You're making this process a lot less daunting! That L.A. Times articles looks great. I'll be trying out a few of those recipes.
posted by baniak at 10:46 AM on December 9, 2011

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