Jan 15 2013

How to Make Mustard (and a recipe for Dee’s Rosemary Thyme Grainy Mustard)

Published by at 1:16 pm under Dee Thoughts,Gluten Free Recipes,Helpful Websites!

Stef & I are HUGE grainy mustard fans. HUGE. We go through large-ish bottles fairly quickly in our apartment. And it can get pricey (especially if you are looking for organic mustards made only with apple cider vinegar!)

But once again condiment inspiration struck me while we were in Copenhagen visiting our friends when G showed me this little pot of mustard she made which looked DELICIOUS. I think the discussion went something like this:

G pulls mustard out of fridge in this cute little container pot thingy


G: “I made it myself!”

Dee: “WTF ARE YOU KIDDING ME – you can MAKE mustard?”

G: “Yes of course! And it’s super easy! Here’s how…”

(She’s a saint!! No diss to be had here…not even a “DUH!” was uttered…)

Anyway – I decided to look into this further when we got home and did you know that Canada is the world’s largest producer of mustard seeds? (Crazy right – how did we not learn about this in school?) Which also translates to this: mustard seeds are REALLY cheap here. Seriously. You can buy enough mustard seeds to make a few cups of mustard for a few bucks. (Who knew!?) Don’t go to your grocery store – go to a bulk store or a spice store. (Better selection and better prices from what I have found!)


This is what a Canadian yellow mustard field looks like!

There are 3 kinds of mustard seeds:
1) White/Yellow – this is the mildest mustard seed and the largest. (Think North American mustard)
2) Brown/Dark Yellow – this is a pungent mustard seed and a medium size. (Think European mustard)
3) Black – this is the smallest and spiciest mustard seed of the 3 varieties. (Think South Asian mustard oils, etc.)

You can buy mustard either in whole seed form, or powdered form.

Mustard plants are in the Brassica family, the cancer-fighting plant family that also includes cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. And guess what – the mustard seed contains concentrated amounts of the same anti-cancer compounds found in those greens! The glucosinolates are the key and these are released from crucifers when they are chewed and from the mustard seed when it is soaked or broken. (Source: Healing Spices,  Bharat B. Aggarwal, p 166) In addition, mustard is an excellent source of selenium, manganese, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and phosphorus. (Source)

When mustard seeds come into contact with cold (NOT HOT) water, the enzyme myrosinase activates and produces the pungent, distinctive mustard flavour. To moderate its sharp flavor, you can either add some very hot water OR an acidic substance such as vinegar, either of which will stop the enzymatic process. (Source) If vinegar is added at the outset, it prevents the myrosinase from acting which will produce a milder flavoured mustard. The initial soaking liquid is what develops the flavour, and some popular choices include water (for a sharp taste), milk (for a spicier flavour) and beer (which will make it very hot). To develop their full flavour, seeds should sit in the liquid for 10 minutes. Vinegar or hot water can be added whenever you want to stop the heat from developing, but if you go over 10 minutes the flavour will start to dissipate. (Source: Healing Spices,  Bharat B. Aggarwal, p 171)

When buying in whole seed form, the seeds can be soaked for 48 hours in liquid and then they can be ground if desired in a food processor or blender (or a mortar & pestle if you’re into doing it the old fashioned way). Powdered mustard can be used immediately.

The best part about making your own mustard is that it is easy to experiment with the flavours, and so cheap that even if it tastes really nasty it’s more of a “OH WELL” and “LET’S TRY THAT AGAIN” than a frustrated “MAN THOSE INGREDIENTS COST ME A PRETTY PENNY ARRGH!” with some rage-induced mustard tossing and then collapsing in a teary pile on the floor of the kitchen in abject failure mode. (I’m not saying it never happened – just not due to mustard muff-ups!) You really have nothing to lose other than a few bucks and like, 10 minutes of time.

The original inspiration for this mustard recipe is from the “My Recipes” website – I’ve tweaked it a bit so that it suits our tastes, quantities consumed and dietary preferences.

Dee’s Rosemary Thyme Grainy Mustard


  • 6 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tbsp brown mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced finely (divided into 1 tbsp amounts)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced finely
  • 2/3 cup filtered water
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raw, unpasteurized honey (can be made vegan with agave nectar)
  • 1  tsp grey sea salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp ground mustard (powdered) optional


  1. Combine mustard seeds, rosemary, water, vinegar and 1 tbsp of the thyme in a bowl. Stir until mustard seeds are submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 48 hours.
  2. Add mustard mixture, honey, salt, remaining 1 tbsp of thyme and ground mustard to blender. Blend until desired consistency is reached (it should get nice & thick and still be grainy!)
  3. Pour into clean jars and let sit in the fridge for a day to let some of the bitterness subside (I usually can’t wait though – it’s already delicious!).

 Yields about 2 cups of mustard. Keeps in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

I know this seems like a lot of mustard but I always end up giving a bunch away so I make larger quantities! SHARE THE MUSTARDLY LOVE! (Or you know, make less. Whatever.)

Additional Information:

Here is another excellent article on mustard which popped up while I was researching this blog post and, hilariously enough, starts with a very similar conversation to the one I’ve posted above except that the writer was the knowledgeable one, not the mustard padawan! A couple of tasty looking recipes at the bottom too!

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