Hot 'n' Spicy Mustard
From warm and mellow to pungent and piquant, mustard is one of our oldest spices - outdating peppercorns - its name a reference to Anglo-Saxon times, must , unfermented grape juice and arden meaning hot or fiery. Only the seeds whole or crushed were once used, the vibrant yellow powder and prepared mustard not common until much later.
- There are three types of seeds - white, brown and black - once grewin different areas of the world.
- Mustard has been, and is still in many cases, an essential spice in many different countries over and above Britain with its roast beef. It is used - spicing gravlax and pickling herrings in Northern Europe, flavouring sausages in Germany and adding fire to Indian curries before chilli's arrival.
- Today Canada is the largest supplier -
- Dijon or French, Meaux or Mild English
- Hot English mustard is very hot from finely ground mustard seeds, turmeric and sugar blended with water.French mustards
, or mixed grain, mustard has a medium heat and is often blended with spices and vinegar.
mustard is smooth and pungent from a blend of seeds and spices and wine or verjuice, the latter giving the mustard less heat.
- French or Bordeaux mustard is darker in colour from the brown and black mustard seeds mix that's blended with grape must (unfermented wine).German mustards
tend to be milder but with a sweet and sour, slightly pungent taste. They are often saltier too.American mustard
is very mild and very sweet, with subtle spiciness; more often like a sauce.Flavour-named mustardsBeer Mustards
- made with beer resulting in a gutsy yeasty flavour, ideal on top of a grilled steak. Tarragon Mustard
- heavily infused with this aniseedy-flavoured herb, best used with chicken and fish Honey mustards
- more sweet and honey-scented than mustard; pair up with ham, bacon and other smoked foods.Garlic mustard
- pungent and precocious; use with red meats
Mustard's flavour will only become pronounced once the seeds are ground and mixed with a liquid - and the flavour strength will depend on whether this is water or an acidic liquid such as vinegar, verjuice etc.
Acidic liquids pause the chemical reaction and the mustard will have softer flavour.
However if a mustard is made only of seeds it usually has an over-reaching taste of vinegar and spice but not mustard.
Store me in a cupboard!
Mustard does not need to be refrigerated once opened - just keep it in a cool place with its lid on.
Cooking with Mustard
While mustard's has unique qualities for adding flavour, heat and acting as an emulsifier here are few pointers to avoid bringing out the bitterness that in this wily spice or condiment.
- Make powdered mustard up using cold water only. Hot or warm water causes the bitterness of mustard to become pronounced; it's all to do with a chemical reaction so cold only. And keep a lid on it too which prevents a skin forming.
- Always allow powdered mustard , once made into a paste to stand for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
- Heat will dissipate mustard's pungent note, so adding some at the end of cooking to, say, a casserole, will add a vibrant mustard flavour.
- Do not allow glazes which include mustard to become ‘char-grilled or burned; it will cause a bitter taste.