Condiment Jam: Homemade mustard update

19 10 2009
Image by foodistablog via Flickr

It’s finally MUSTARD! After two patient days (patience isn’t always my strong suit), it was finally time to take the great mustard experiment to the next level.

I’d been soaking a combination of dark and white mustard seeds in red wine (a chardonnay and merlot blend), red wine & balsamic vinegars for two days. With the soaking done, I improvised the next steps on a mustard recipe which came originally from Martha Stewart.

Stewart’s recipe uses all red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of ground marjoram. Since I’d just brought in my herb harvest, I substituted 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme leaves. Stewart’s mustard is designed to be refrigerator mustard, but since this recipe is high in vinegar, I used a cold-pack canning method on two of my jars. First tastes were very sharp; I’m looking forward to tasting daily to see how it mellows.


  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves


  1. In a 1-pint canning jar, combine mustard seeds with the red wine and vinegars. I used a chardonnay/merlot wine blend. Cover the jar and let sit 48 hours. (I put mine in the refrigerator.) Check daily to be sure seeds are covered by liquid; add more wine if necessary.
  2. Put the seeds and liquid in the bowl of a food processor, along with all of the remaining ingredients. Process about 5 minutes, or until seeds are broken down and the mixture become creamy.
  3. To can: Spoon the mustard into hot, sterilized 1 cup or 1/2 cup jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process 20 minutes in a boiling water batch.
  4. To use within 1 month: Spoon the mustard into an airtight container. Allow the mustard to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before using to let the flavors develop. The mustard will keep for up to 1 month.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Update: I marinated another batch of mustard seeds, and this variation is mellowing right now…


  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 3/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons roasted garlic cloves (about 20 cloves)
Directions (as above)
  1. Marinate the mustard seeds in the vinegars and red wine for 48 hours.
  2. Put the marinade, mustard seeds, and all remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Can or refrigerate as directed for red wine mustard (above.)
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Savory Jam: Home-made mustard

11 10 2009
Close-up picture of mustard seeds
Image via Wikipedia

I love mustard. And I have ready access to mustard seed in quantity in the ethnic food aisle at my local Wegmans, health food and Asian grocery stores. So as I finished a jar of roasted garlic gourmet mustard, I began to wonder if I could make mustard at home.

On the web, I found several resources including these:
Making Mustard at Home from the folks at

Instructions for canning mustard (scroll to bottom))

And out of a myriad of mustard recipes, I chose this simple proportional wine mustard recipe which I found in a collection of mustard recipes at

Mustard-making is a multi-day proposition. The seeds need to soak, and the flavor needs time to age, develop and mellow.
I’ve got a cup and a half of mixed mustard seeds soaking, some in red wine and some in sherry in my refrigerator; updates in 24 hours when the soaking is finished and my mustard develops!

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Salsa Jam: Fresh & canned peach salsa

17 09 2009
Image by rageforst via Flickr

We didn’t get many early-season peaches in Central NY this summer. The ones in the local markets never met my buy-me criteria: they never seduced me with their peachy aroma as soon as I entered the stand or market. Yes, I know I could have used nectarines — but they didn’t convince me, either. Now some small harvests of aromatic peaches are finally showing up in the market. While their aroma is calling me to gather enough peaches to make jam, it also makes me crave some sharp, spicy peach salsa.

In 1994, just outside Hilton Head, South Carolina, I picked up my first jar of homemade peach salsa. Since that summer vacation, I’ve improvised on many recipes, attempting to duplicate the sweet-hot spicy goodness I’d found in that farm stand jar of salsa. Here are some internet sources for both fresh and canned peach salsa recipes I’ve tried along the way:

From The Seasonal Chef (, these five variations of Peach Salsa include a recipe with honey, another with tomatoes, one with mint, and two which use increasingly hot varieties of peppers.

Here are fresh peach (and other fruit) salsa recipes from

You can also find several peach salsa recipes at That’s my Home

Christis’s Corner has a fresh peach salsa that only needs 3 or 4 fresh peaches for those times when you can only get a few peaches at a time. You can also make it with frozen peaches.

My peach salsa recipe combines peaches, sweet and hot peppers, basil, red onions and garlic, along with lime juice and white balsamic vinegar. It’s a bit of work to can from a small harvest, but the taste is such a strong reminder of my summer vacation in Hilton Head that I make it as often as I can.

Peach Salsa

4 cups peaches – peeled and chopped
1 cup red onion – chopped
1 jalapeno pepper – chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
1 red pepper – chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil – loosely packed*
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar*
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic – finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

  • The peaches should be chopped in a coarse 1/2 inch dice. The peppers should be in smaller dice. It’s okay to use slightly under-ripe peaches, and to leave under-ripe peaches unpeeled for a bit of contrast.
  • * If you prefer, you can use cilantro or Italian flat-leaf parsley instead of the chopped basil. If you can’t get white balsamic vinegar, white wine or white distilled vinegar will be fine.
  • Simmer all of the ingredients for 5 minutes. Pack into hot jars, cover with caps and bands and tighten according to direction. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (0-1000 ft.), 15 minutes (1001-6000 ft.), and 20 minutes (above 6000 ft.).Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Pickle Jam: Home-canned Giardiniera

12 09 2009
Pickling Peppers
Image by dustjelly via Flickr

While there’s still a lot of jamming to finish for the season, this week at the market was pepper week.

I make a couple kinds of refrigerator pickles. One of my favorites is a spicy Italian Giardiniera, or ‘pretty pickle.’ Most recipes include a full day of brining the vegetables, and once jarred, they douse each jar in a healthy dose of olive oil. Because it’s almost impossible for the home cook to safely process recipes which contain a lot of oil and low acid vegetables, my refrigerator recipe for Giardiniera is for immediate eating. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for a week or to, if kept safely in the back away from temperature changes. I’ve got some vegetables brining for a Giardiniera to eat this week; I’ll get them into jars tomorrow. However, 24 hours of brining is a lot of time overhead for pickles that have to be eaten right away.

Kathy Moore’s NY State Fair-winning Red Pepper Relish inspired me to find a good way to can some of the pepper bounty at this week’s farmer’s market. I found a Giardiniera recipe online at a canning recipes site which boils the vegetables in a vinegar-salt-sugar brine and doesn’t add oil. The site suggests adding olive oil after opening a jar of brined and processed vegetables, and then refrigerating the jar. That could mean the best of both worlds — a shelf-stable home-canned pickle which can be enjoyed as it comes out of the jar, and tricked out in a second version with olive oil to taste for a traditional Giardiniera.

Since this is a first-time improv on this pickle recipe, I cut quantities in half to keep the batch small. It makes 6 pints or 3 quarts when doubled. Once the jars cool, I’ll let you know if there’s anything I’d do differently next time.

Once oil is added to a jar of these pickled vegetables, the jar should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a month. Once refrigerated, any giardiniera which contains oil should be kept tightly covered and stored in the back of the refrigerator where it will be less exposed to temperature variations.


Giardiniera (to be canned, water-bath processing)

2 cups white vinegar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon pickling salt (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup sliced baby carrots, cut 1/4-inch thick
3 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup red bell peppers, cut in 1-inch pieces
3-6 serrano peppers, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (number used depends on how hot you want the finished Giardiniera)
1 cup celery, rib-strings removed and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups onion slices (sliced about 1/2 inch thick & quartered – not in rounds)

In a 6 to 8 quart saucepot, combine vinegar, sugar, water, salt and turmeric. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 4 minutes. Add vegetables, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are hot, about 5 minutes. Immediately fill sterilized hot pint jars with mixture, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Carefully run a nonmetallic utensil down inside of jars to remove trapped air bubbles. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jar and screw bands on firmly but not to tight (about finger tip tight) Process pints in boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

Makes 3 pints.

Giardiniera (for refrigerator pickles)

My ‘refrigerator’ Giardiniera reads like a combination of these two recipes, but mine leans heavily leaning toward the one created by Nick Kindelsperger from the now-based-in-Chicago food blog, The Paupered Chef. Nick’s Giardiniera recipe is a clean-tasting, seriously spicy pickle. In his blog about Giardiniera, he linked to a recipe found in the online October, 2007 Chicago Tribune that is more or less the recipe I learned from the ladies in the Our Lady of Pompeii Church Auxilliary back when I was in college. Nick thought the Trib‘s recipe was too ‘fancy, ‘ and called the olive oil and cider vinegar combination too ‘distracting.’

I completely agree with Nick about using fewer carrots. I have always used white or red wine vinegar, although white distilled vinegar would work, too. But sorry, Nick — the olive oil stays. I’m an olive oil girl (don’t get me started on the nutritive issues with canola oil…!) Refrigerator Giardiniera also safely includes garlic — I often increase the garlic in mine to 4-6 cloves.

Be prepared — refrigerator Giardiniera is a two-day process. But its fresh taste just can’t be beat.

Which kind of Giardiniera do you prefer — one with a splash of olive oil, or one with lots of vinegar? Do you like the refrigerator version, something you’ve made at home or a commercially prepared Giardiniera from a jar? If you’ve got a recipe, please share!

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