Homemade Ale and Wholegrain Mustard

6 Jan

Well…well…well. Christmas is over (I say, sat here sipping on my mulled wine……), which means that I can let you into some of the secrets of my Christmas prezzies! I do like to make Christmas presents, I think that it adds a nice personal touch, and shows that you’ve gone to the effort to actually make something. Last year I made a delicious apricot jam which turned out very well (I hope to make it again soon and will share the recipe then), and a tomato and chilli jam which unfortunately wasn’t as good as I had hoped (probably due to over reducing the mixture….). This year, chutney and mustard were on the agenda. I wasn’t particularly taken with the chutney as there seemed to be much too much liquid, and I’ll adapt it next time. The mustard however was a winner! I’ve never made mustard before, so it was a bit of a gamble, but it turned out really well and I’ll definitely be making it again. It was really easy to make too! I think the original recipe came from BBC good food.

photo (2)

Recipe (makes around 1 kg)

  • 175g brown or black mustard seeds
  • 175g yellow mustard seeds
  • 500 ml ale or beer (I used a honey dew ale)
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • 175ml cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp salt

Soak the mustard seeds in the ale or beer overnight, and cover with clingfilm – they’ll soak it all up. Add all other ingredients and blend a little until almost blended (you want a bit of crunch left in it, not a paste!).

Sterilise your jars (see below), and fill/screw lids on while the jars are still hot. Tap on a bench to try to get rid of any air bubbles. Leave to cool and then label with some pretty labels!


A note on sterilising: I used to buy brand new jars and lids and sterilise them by washing in hot soapy water, then placing in a large pan with boiling water for about ten minutes, plus ten to fifteen minutes drying time upside down in the oven at 160C (fill them with whatever it is you’ve made while they’re still hot). I now recycle jars, because frankly it’s too expensive to buy new ones, and if you clean them up / sterilise them (as above) they are just as good as new. There is a lot of debate about what the proper way to sterilise jars is, and many advocate buying new lids to ensure a proper airtight seal, however I recycle my lids too and I’ve never had a problem. I’ve never ‘canned’ my home made goodies (involves heat processing) either. I think people get so carried away with health and safety sometimes – yes, one must be careful and use a good amount of common sense to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, but my grandparents and their parents before them never had any of the fancy high tech processing things which people try to sell us today, and they were absolutely fine! The high sugar content of jams, and the high acidity of mustards/pickles/chutneys creates a hostile environment for little bacteria too, so all in all, unless you’ve really not made an effort to keep things sterile, or not added the right proportion of sugar/salt/vinegar, it would be quite unlucky to find mould if you’re using the product within 6 months.

Historically wax or paraffin was used to create a seal around the top of jams to prevent bacterial growth, but apparently that’s not recommended any more as mould can grow underneath the wax if it doesn’t form an airtight seal. Basically, if you’re using old jam jars and lids, I’d place a wax disc on the top of hot jam so that it goes all the way to the edge (and there are no bubbles underneath) as an extra way of ensuring a seal with an old screw top lid. I don’t know what the protocol is for mustards and such, but the sterilised screw top lid should be sufficient. The only thing I would say is that you need to make sure that your lids have a lining if you’re using them for acidic products (like chutneys/mustard). The acid will react with the metal and it will start to corrode if you don’t.



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