According to Tai, the latest experiment in home mustard making ranks an 8 out of 10 on the spicy scale; a “whooo-boy” level of spiciness, but no tears. Adjust the heat accordingly for your favorite spicy mustard lover.
Adapted from Lemon-Sage Wine Mustard and Ginger-Garlic Mustard in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine, eds.
Fiery Habanero Mustard
- 6 – 8 medium habanero peppers, divided (fresh or frozen)
- 3/4 cup vodka (I used Absolute New Orleans, because we had it on the shelf, but any vodka will do)
- 3/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity if canning)
- 1/2 cup local honey
- 1/4 cup dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Slice 4 of the habanero peppers in half, retaining seeds. Add to a small saucepan with the vodka. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, press on the peppers with the back of a spoon to release juices, then allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain vodka into a small bowl, pressing on the peppers to extract juices. Discard (or compost) the peppers. Add the mustard seeds to the vodka, cover, and let sit overnight (or until the seeds have absorbed most of the vodka; at least 4 hours).
- If canning, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Halve and seed the remaining habanero peppers. Mince by hand (wear gloves to avoid burns), or in a food processor, and reserve.
- Add the mustard seeds, with any remaining liquid, and the cider vinegar to a food processor. Add about one pepper at a time (about 1 tsp minced) to the mustard seed mixture. Process seeds, vinegar and peppers until most of the seeds are chopped; leave some seeds for a grainy texture, or chop completely for a smooth mustard, as you desire. Judge the spiciness by smell, and add more minced pepper as you like, but remember that it is far easier to add more at the cooking stage than to try ”calm down” a mustard that is too spicy! (I added about 2 – 3 medium peppers, about a scant tablespoon chopped).
- Transfer the pureed mustard seed mixture to a medium saucepan. Add honey, dry mustard and salt and whisk together over medium heat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and reduce mustard to the desired consistency, remembering that it will thicken upon cooling (I reduced mine by only about 1/4 and left this mustard a little ‘loose’; this took about 10 minutes).
- Ladle hot mustard into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 2 and 1/2 cups.
- Other chile peppers would work just as well in this recipe, although do not substantially increase the amount of non-acidic peppers in the recipe for safety in canning (feel free to increase if you will be storing in the fridge); if you want more heat, include the seeds in the food processor as well as the peppers.
- Tequila would be a nice substitute for the vodka (I thought Tai might object to my using his Patron Silver otherwise I would have used tequila).
- Wild mustard plants grow all over the Northeast and many of them have seeds that can be harvested in the fall; however, to harvest a cup of seeds may require some time and energy! If you have an abundant supply of mustard seed near you, you can substitute wild mustard seed, grind some of the seeds for a dry mustard powder, and make this recipe with local, foraged mustard. Cool!
Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 2 months.
Habanero peppers are available in farmer’s markets in late summer, but with frozen peppers you can make this mustard year-round.