Habanero Beer Mustard

One of the things that Charles brought up in his class Sunday was mustard plasters, and I couldn’t help but think that mustard is really one of those plants I  don’t talk about enough. It’s kind of odd, because I order pounds of yellow mustard powder and mustard seeds every year.  I even put mustard powder in the crusts I make for savory pies and sausage rolls.

I do this because I know that using spices and condiment serves a purpose beyond preservation of food, or adding flavor. Our ancestors knew it, too.  In the earliest Roman cookbook, we learn that the author understood that the salts and condiments he made had health promoting benefits[1]. In later years, we find recipes for spice blends given names like “Powders that Digest Foods”[2] and so on.

It’s my theory that our ancestors tolerated higher amounts of saturated fats and the like in their diets better because they ate this way. I spend a lot of time reminding people about this.  It is the reason that I share so many recipes on this blog. Human beings should be eating our herbs and spices daily, as part of a preventative regimen.

One of the things that’s amazing about eating real mustard as a condiment with high fat foods is that it seems to help our bodies metabolize those fats. Modern food scientists confirmed this quite some time ago.[3]   It’s also a brassica. So, all those glucosinolates that are good for you in kale and cabbage, are also in mustard seeds.[4]

That’s enough of a footnoted introduction for a recipe, so here I am going to share yet another recipe that uses up some of these peppers that are going crazy in my yard.  Don’t worry, it won’t be the last.  I have a lot more to use up.

The most fun thing about today is that for the first time ever, I am using a homebrewed beer to make beer mustard!

Habanero Beer Mustard

1 cup brown mustard seeds
1 cup yellow mustard seed
1/3 cup powdered yellow mustard
1 12-oz beer
½ cup white wine vinegar
4 tbsp. honey
1 habanero pepper

Put the mustard seeds and powder in a glass bowl. Add the beer and vinegar to the mustard, cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 12 hours. I prefer 24.

Strain the seeds but keep the liquid. De-seed your habanero and chop it finely.  ( You can add more if you like, but I don’t like for the spice to overwhelm the other flavors.) Add it to the mustard seeds along with the honey. Slowly pour the liquid you kept back into the seeds while blending them. I use my immersion blender for this. A food processor isn’t going to grind the seeds for you even when they are hydrated. Keep adding liquid until your mustard is a nice consistency. Put the mustard in sterilized jars and process it, or just keep them in the fridge.

[1] Apicius. Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome. Translated by Joseph Dommers Vehling. 1926 Reprint. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 400AD.

[2] Anon. The Book of Cooking in Maghreb and Andalus in the Era of Almohads. Translated by Martinelli, Candida. 2012 translation. Al-Andulus, Spain: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 1400.

[3] Khan, Beena A., Annie Abraham, and S. Leelamma. “Biochemical Response in Rats to the Addition of Curry Leaf (Murraya Koenigii) and Mustard Seeds (Brassica Juncea) to the Diet.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualities’ Plantarum) 49, no. 4 (1996): 295–299.

[4] 1. Merah O. Genetic Variability in Glucosinolates in Seed of Brassica juncea: Interest in Mustard Condiment. Journal of Chemistry. 2015.