I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that this in between season is hard. Those warm days are a wonderful taste of what’s to come and I’m scrambling to find my gardening gloves and plant my garden. Then comes the cold, gray, rainy days and I’m relieved I held off. I know summer is just around the corner, but I’m anxious for fresh, local fruit and capturing it in a preserve.
Luckily, there are options. Making preserves from frozen fruit is a great way to clear out the freezer and after a long winter, it’s exciting to sample sun-ripened fruit again! (Hitchhiking to Heaven has a great post about making jam from frozen fruit, including invaluable tips on how to store your fruit over the winter so you can have fantastic preserves for the future.)
Another option and one of my favourites is mustard. We eat a lot of mustard and enjoy its versatility. Like a fine wine, mustard gets better with age and starting now gives your mustard a chance for flavours to develop and deepen, just in time for the upcoming barbeque and salad season. Mustard is one preserve that gets used up the fastest. We add it to vinaigrettes, slather it on grilled sausages, stir it in with tuna, pasta and potato salads, add it to pan drippings and a splash of wine for a quick and tasty pan gravy, slather it on bread for sandwiches and add it to our marinades. One of our favourites is honey mustard dip.
This mustard features the sweet and mellow Raspberry Wheat Beer from Garrison’s Brewery in Halifax, one of our favourite breweries. Paired with yellow mustard seeds, it’s a really lovely mild mustard. The recipe is direct from Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving and the recipe can be found online at the Ball website. I like the versatility and ease of this recipe as it allows you room to play around with different textures (smooth vs grainy), different colours of mustard seeds (black mustard seeds are bolder and spicier) and room to play with the underlying beer flavour, swapping a light beer for something stronger and complex. Or, swap the beer entirely and try a hard cider. Mustards are incredibly easy to make, have good storage length in the fridge and many can be canned.
To venture further into mustard making, consider these: