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It's not too late! There is still time to make homemade mustard


Homemade Grainy Mustard
Homemade Grainy Mustard

My easy grainy mustard version requires soaking the mustard seeds for at least a day or two and chopping seeds in a food processor. The smooth version (at bottom of page) simply combines dry mustard powder with a few ingredients and is even easier. If you are making mustard for yourself you may just keep your mustard refrigerated (if you have room for 3 jars in your fridge), but if giving this as a gift, or if you want to store your extra jars on the shelf one should use water bath canning. A set of mustards would make a wonderful gift.

I am sorry I have been slow in posting lately. I have been working to get grandpa enrolled into elder daycare. It has taken several days' work, and many interviews, but he is now enrolled. I think this will be a good move for him. I will let you know how it is working out.

I am no mustard expert, but I did work of French's directly after graduating from college, and find the art and science of mustard making fascinating.  I absolutely love the pungent horseradish-like taste of European style mustard that clears your sinuses, but fresh artisan mustards are hard to find in many areas of the country. Home mustard making is easy to do. Look at The Jam Scientist's Notebook section of this post to learn tips for controlling and utilizing mustard's natural kick.

First, I will be sharing just the recipe for making mustard.  If you need information about the basic canning process please click here for Canning Instructions from Virginia Tech.


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Grainy Dijon Mustard Recipe

Adapted from The Art of Preserving, (Williams-Sonoma)  published by Weldon Owen, 2010.

Recipe type:

mustard (condiment)



2 or 3, 8-oz jars or half-pints

Prep time: 

1 to 2 days



1/4 inch

Cook time: 

10 to 25 minutes



10 minutes

Total time: 

1 to 2 days plus 30 minutes



1  cup (4 ounces) mustard seeds (combination of yellow, brown or black is best) White and black mustard seeds, plus  2 Tablespoons mustard power

1⁄2 cup cool water (for soaking seeds)

1- 1/2 cups (16 fluid ounces) dry white wine or flat champagne

1/2 cup wine vinegar

1 yellow onion, gruffly chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional if you want a more yellow mustard)

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt


  1. Sterilize jars and prepare lids per manufacture's instruction (if canning mustard). 
  2. In bowl, stir together mustard seeds and cool water (if you do not want the spicy mustard kick use boiling water). Set aside in refrigerator for 1 to 2 days (add more water if needed to keep seeds wet).
  3. Processing mustard seeds(After 1 to 2 days) Blend seeds in food processor to the desired grainy consistency (you will be unable to make a completely smooth mustard by grinding whole mustard seeds). Add dry mustard powder to the wet mixture. Mustard Powder
  4. In small nonreactive saucepan (such as stainless steel), combine wine, onion and garlic. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
  5. Pouring wine mixture through fine-mesh sievePour wine mixture through fine-mesh sieve into chopped mustard and stir until combined. Add sugar (or honey), salt, turmeric (optional), and vinegar. Transfer to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thickened as desired (5 to 20 minutes).
  6. Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.
  7. Spoon hot mustard into prepared jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles (use a small spatula, chopstick, or plastic knife etc, inside the jar pressing between the mustard and the side of the jar). Adjust headspace, if necessary. Wipe rims clean and seal tightly with lids. If canning, process 10 minutes in bowling water bath, or store in refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Note: Canned mustard is very thick and can siphon (liquid drawn out of the jar during processing) if the pressure in the jar changes quickly. To avoid this, one may turn off the heat at the end of processing and wait 5 - 10 minutes before removing jars from the water bath; this gives time for the temperature and pressure in the jar to equalize. 

Note: Processing time given is for 1000 foot elevation and below. If you are working at a higher elevation click here for information about needed time adjustments.

Note: For best flavor, let mustard stand for 1 to 2 weeks before using (freshly ground mustard from seeds can be bitter for a few days).


Honey Dijon Mustard Honey Dijon

Omit the sugar, and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup honey before transferring the mustard to the jars.  

Tarragon Dijon Mustard

Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon before transferring the mustard to the jars.

Smooth Dijon 

The quickest and easiest mustard to make. Substitute 1 cup ground mustard powder (no need to soak or grind before combining ingredients).  Simmer onion mix longer (for 20 minutes) to reduce volume.


Mustard Demystified

Jam scientist's notebook colored

How do I know this recipe is safe? pH and Heat

pH - To be safe from botulism bacteria growth and its food poisoning toxins, the pH of canned goods must be below 4.6 (one wants to stay below pH 4.4. to be on the safe side). The pH of Dijon Mustard ranges from 3.1 to 3.7 - well within the safety zone. Mustard oil also has some natural defense against microbe growth. The AIT in brown mustard oil inhibits the growth of several yeasts, fungus, and mycotoxin producing molds.

Heat - Processing the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes is an extra insurance in killing any actively growing bacteria and prevents yeast and mold growth that might have survived.

Mustard's heat mainly comes from enzymes:

Mustard's heat is formed when the seeds are damaged, or ground. This damage releases enzymes and other compounds within the seeds that combine when moisture is available.

The enzymes work quickly with cool water, but this reaction is unstable and will not last a long time.  Enzymes combine slowly in acids and the horseradish-like taste reaction will be more stable and last longer in an acidic mix. On the other hand, a pH that is very low can prevent the natural heat formation altogether.

High heat will deactivate enzymes and can also prevent the characteristic taste from developing (this could be a plus if you are making the mustard for young children).

If you want the pungent flavor of mustard to develop, one can allow enzymes to react with the ground mustard first in water, then add an acid (like vinegar or wine) to help stabilize the mustard over time.

For more information see Joshua Bousel's excellent resource Mustard Manual: Your Guide to Mustard Varieties

Mustard seed heat scale:

On the mustard heat scale, white (yellow), Brassica alba, seeds are the mildest.

Black (brown), Brassica nigra, mustard seeds are spiciest.

Bright yellow mustard:

Use turmeric to achieve the characteristic American style bright yellow mustard color.


The Jam Scientist

Kitchen Hack: Super easy 10 minute "canned" flavored salt

Use this simple and quick tactic to spice up your life, or to make an easy homemade gift . I have seen other blogs that first dehydrate the herbs before adding the salt, but this is not necessary, and it decreases flavor.  Salt does a great job of dehydration all by itself and locks in flavor and aroma.



Flavored salts: lime, hot chili pepper, and rosemary
Flavored salts: lime, hot chili pepper, and rosemary

I will show you three easy flavored salts, lime, hot chili pepper, and rosemary, but you could use any strong or distinctively flavored herb, spice, or fruit.  One can also flavor salt by smoking it. Some folks even dehydrate wine to make a wine salt, but I don't want to go to that much effort today - you may feel differently if wine is your thing.


Best Little Jam House


Canning jars - I would suggest 4 ounce jars for making quick presents, but I am demonstrating with 8 ounce jars because that is what I had on hand.

Herb, or fruit of your choice

Salt - I used fine canning salt because it has no additives and is readily available, but coarse salt makes a very nice presentation. Just remember that fine salt is about twice as dense as coarse salt, so one would need to use about twice as much herb or fruit if using fine salt.




Thyme - ends bend easily
Rosemary - bends easily

1.  Pick your fresh herbs. You are looking for ends that bend easily, not stiff sticks. Wash herbs and dry with paper towel. 

2.  Separate leaves from stems. It is okay to include very supple stem parts, but remove any stiff stems.

Remove stiff stems
Remove stiff stems

3.  Finally chop leaves. You may use a food processor if that is easier for you, but use the pulse option so you don't over chop and turn everything mushy.  Personally, I find hand chopping easiest.

Rosemary chopped
Rosemary chopped

4.  Filling your jars: It using coarse salt, you will want to fill your jars 1/4 to 1/3 full with herbs. If using fine salt, fill your jars about 1/2 full.

5.  Fill your jar with salt up to the start of the neck area (you want room to shake the jar).

Fill your jar to neck
Fill your jar to neck

6.  Shake your jar well to evenly distribute contents.


Rosemary Salt
Rosemary Salt

7.  Shake jar ever other day for about two weeks. If contents shrink below the neck area, add more salt.



Lime zest
Lime zest

Follow above directions, but use microplane, fine grater, or zestier to remove just the outer colored area of the rind, leaving the bitter pith behind. I used the zest of 4 limes in an 8 ounce jar. 

Hot Chili Pepper

Habaneros (very hot chili)
Habaneros (very hot chili)

First choose a truly HOT pepper, something hotter than a jalapeño.  If you are adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to a recipe you will need a very hot pepper to be able to taste anything. I used 5 Habaneros (very hot chili) in an 8 ounce jar (it was not quite 1/2 full - using fine salt). I used disposable gloves to protect myself. I did remove the seeds, but I would not have removed the seeds if I was working with a chili that was not quite as strong.

Habanero Salt
Habanero Salt






The Jam Scientist