Zero Waste DIY: Homemade mustard

Homemade mustard has been on my list for quite a while. It was one of the first pins I put on my Pinterest zero waste board (hey, apparently I could make a public board, but I would literally have to invite every single one of you in order to make it a true community type of ordeal. So that’s why that little goal of mine never came to fruition), and it’s just basically sat there until last week, when Eric wrote mustard on our grocery list.

Hmm, I thought, a sign!

I bought what I needed — basically dry mustard — and then didn’t have the time to attempt anything fun, let alone anything terrible, until last night after work. I set my ingredients out on the counter, and lo and behold, apparently I should have added turmeric to my list. Ah, well, at this point in the project, you didn’t expect me to actually have my DIY act together, did you?

Not pictured: Water.

Bonus shot: Bear was quite intrigued by all the commotion in the kitchen. Not pictured: The four tons of cat hair on the rug thanks to Pearl.

A quick internet search later, I learned that cumin is a decent substitute flavor-wise, but not color-wise. Eh, so I have brown mustard. A color was not going to ruin my day.

What did we do before the internet?

Because this is a new recipe, and I am usually optimistic about all the wrong things, I decided to make half a batch for my first attempt ever. The recipe said that arrowroot powder or flour could be used as a thickener if needed, but wow, I did not need anything — it was pretty thick to begin with, and after just a couple of minutes on the stove, I had a nice thick substance. I put it in one of my recycled salad dressing bottles (I inherited two last month, total score!) and … huh, I guess that’s it.

Not very complicated.

Action shot!

Now that I think about it, I wonder if the mustard will be easy to get out of this type of jar?

The recipe notes that this can be stored in the fridge for a month, and that the longer it sits, the more it “mellows.” Um, I stuck a pinkie in the saucepan after I decanted the stuff, and bloody hell, that’s HOT. You have to understand that I am the wimpiest of wimps when it comes to spice, so I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

I’ll ask Eric to try it when he and Johanna come home from basketball practice. I did make it for him, after all.

Eric says: Smells good! Nice flavor and then it bites you — it doesn’t burn your tongue, it’s just spicy. 

… And something about how he expects it will taste great on a sandwich.

Bottom line: Fun little project, and I didn’t even make a mess, which is practically a miracle. I’m calling it a win. This was 100 percent zero waste for me, as all the ingredients came from the bulk bin, aside from the vinegar, which is in glass (and I chose that particular size because the jar is perfect for making into a spray bottle. Hey Mom and Joni, save me your nozzles!).

And yeah, I’ll update later to let you know if it actually does mellow. I’m curious.

Homemade Mustard (Click HERE for actual recipe; this is just me trying to read my notes)

1/2 cup water

8 tablespoons dry ground mustard (1/2 cup)

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (1/4 cup)

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or flour, optional

1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric (whoops, or cumin in a panic)

Pinch each garlic powder and paprika

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan (start with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and add the rest if you think it needs it, I guess. I didn’t). Heat to boiling, then simmer on low for 10 minutes or until thickened (um, didn’t take me even half that long). Store in the refrigerator for a month; the longer it sits, the more mellow it will get.

Bonus Shot Dos: Bear was so intrigued by the commotion that I finally had to put him on my shoulders so he could see properly. Sometimes he climbs up himself, which is painful. It was painful enough as it was, since he was biting my chin, the ungrateful brat.

Next up: I haven’t gotten that far, but I’ve already declared that I’m staying home all weekend so I can clean and prep meals and nap and and read and write. I’m really looking forward to holing up, to be honest.