As a rule of thumb, the colder the liquid you soak mustard seeds in, the hotter the finished mustard will be. To achieve a mild, mostly yellow, honey mustard Rebecca Gagnon of www.rcakewalk.blogspot.com and author of The Little Book of Home Preserving uses room temperature wine to soak the mustard seeds. It also mellows at room temperature before heading into the refrigerator for long-term storage.
SWEET WHITE WINE
YIELDS ABOUT 2 HALF-PINT JARS
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup white wine*
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, more to taste
Two 1/2 pint sterilized jars
1. Combine the mustard seeds in a glass bowl and cover them with white wine. Cover the bowl and let it sit at room temperature until the seeds have soaked up all of the wine (at least 4 hours).
2. Sterilize the jars.
3. Transfer the soaked mustard seeds to a food processor or blender, and add the remaining ingredients.
4. Process or blend (taking care not to puree the seeds completely), until the mustard has a creamy, homogenized look. Transfer the mustard into sterilized glass jars (they don't need to be packed all the way up to the top). Cover with the lids and rings, and let them sit at room temperature for 2 days before transferring to the refrigerator. The natural keeping power of the mustard will preserve it for at least up to 1 year.
Some recipe books do not call for sterilization of the jars. The USDA recommends sterilization for all jams and jellies, and the author recommends you sterilize most jars just to be on the safe side.) Sterilize the jars by submerging them in water in a large pot (or your water bath canner), bringing them up to a boil, and keeping them at a boil for 10 minutes. After they boil for 10 minutes, then keep them warm until ready to fill. There's a couple different ways you can do this. You can keep them in the water (bringing it down to a simmer), until you are ready to fill them with food. At that time, remove them with a jar lifter and drain each jar individually and proceed with filling them. Or, keep them in the oven, at 250 degrees Farhrenheit. Just remove the jars from the water bath after boiling, and place them on a baking sheet and keep them in the oven until ready to be filled.
*Choose a wine that you prefer. A pinot grigio, vinho verde, or riesling are good options.
Note: The flavor of the mustard continues to change as it sits for the first few days, so you may wish to add more salt or honey after it rests.
Text and photograph copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Gagnon