Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Betcha thought pumpkin season was over ??

Pumpkin and cranberries linger on........ but this time in the form of a beer, a beer I have been hiding away for a couple months, waiting for time and inspiration to strike. Well, who am I kidding, I am always on the hunt for interesting brews for mustard making. I was hunting for this......I admit it. I always grab an interesting one to squirrel away for a future project. And since stores have been selling singles, it's easy to try just one of something without having to commit to a $10 six pack and not like it.

I found a very interesting fall brew made by New Belgium Brewing- "Pumpkick", a spiced ale with cranberry and pumpkin juice. Sounded interesting. Screamed autumn. Had to have it. I even tasted a wee bit of it- not bad, not bad at all.

So let's get started on my mustard. I've made many and if you've been following my antics for any length of time you have seen the basic procedure- soak, season, blend, process. It's so simple I don't know why more people don't give it a shot. You don't even have to be a canner- prepared mustard keeps for ages in the fridge without having to process in a canner.

The ingredients used for this mustard are:

1 1/2 cups mustard seed (I used a mix of yellow and brown but you can use whatever you have or prefer)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 bottle beer
1 tsp salt
couple good grinds black pepper

That's your very basic grainy mustard mixture. Your choice of beer and any additional ingredients are what makes the mustard unique. 

* Spiced pumpkin ale with cranberry as my beer choice
* 1/4 cup pureed cooked pumpkin (I may use slightly less, depending on consistency)
* couple tablespoons or so FINELY chopped fresh cranberry, cooked slightly in a splash of water (and again I will adjust accordingly depending on consistency) Actually I wish I'd had the foresight to save just a couple tablespoons of that beer- that would have been good !!
* 1 tsp minced fresh garlic

Place mustard seed, vinegar, salt, pepper and beer in glass bowl. Stir to mix. Cover and allow to sit at least 24 hours. I find 48 hours to be about the perfect resting time, to get all the yummy flavors infused in the seeds, and softened enough for a good grind. Seeds will soak up the liquid and plump up. When you are ready to proceed, remove mustard from fridge and allow to reach room temperature.

Prepare your add-in ingredients. Mix the garlic and cranberries into seed mixture, add about half the pumpkin puree. Blend in food processor to desired consistency- grainy like German mustard is my personal fave but you can blend til completely smooth if you prefer. I like to see the bits of good things in there. Add more pumpkin puree if mixture is too thin- you can also taste to see how your flavors are coming along. Remember- it's much easier to ADD MORE than to try and fix too much. So start small and add to taste.

One you've reached your consistency, place mustard into hot, sterile jars. If you don't want to process in a canner, label and date jars and store in fridge or freezer. If you share MAKE SURE to tell your friends it is NOT shelf stable- you don't want to make anyone sick. If canning, I use 4 oz jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Now I just can't wait for grilling season !! These are my favorite mustards for yummy grilled brats, or even a big plate of fried potatoes and sliced kielbasa (one of my favorite easy meals for a weeknight). Excellent with roast beef and ham too, you can add a great pop of flavor to a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, not to mention to endless uses in salad dressings, marinades and pan sauces. Deviled eggs with just a little something different your friends can't quite decipher! The best part of making your own mustard- you get exactly the flavors you want, from the brews you like, without a lot of added chemicals and preservatives. You can't get much fresher than that!

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