mustard




giraffe in mustard seeds, animated gif

The ground mustard produces one of those random dot autostereograms, a Magic Eye image. Allow your eyes to relax to a focus beyond the image and another unrelated picture suddenly appears. 




The enzymatic action starts with introduction of water or damage to plant cells that allow enzymes to perform an unlocking reaction by fitting into a space and breaking a molecular chain up to a thousand times a second. This is a defense mechanism of the plant against insects and mammals, similar to skunk spray. The plants are used as insecticide.

Wasabi powder is turned into putty with water or soy sauce, and so is this mustard powder. The question, is vinegar necessary, since the chemistry occurs without it?



The answer appears to be 'yes.' 

By taste-testing one small speck, the flavor is there, the complexity is there, it develops slowly across the mouth. It peaks, and seems a bit dull. It does all of that with a thud. The acid brightens the whole thing. 

It occurred to me by doing this, by becoming a mustard-maker, the original idea was not to add vinegar or water, rather, the original idea was add wine.

Cooks add wine to everything.

Then the wine quickly turned to vinegar and they thought, eh, just go ahead and add wine vinegar. 






The folks I gave this mustard to raved. Apparently they are much bigger mustard fans than I. When I taste it, I cannot quite believe all the flavor sensations that sting the tongue, first a definite sweetness that is overtaken with horseradish and a creeping heat that feels like capsaicin. This is all best brand new. It fades over time.

It works with grocery store powder too, but there is no telling how long the seeds have been ground, and once ground the oxidation degradation begins.

Among the best bargains available at Whole Foods is their bulk bins with spices to the side in their own cabinet. The day I was there the particular store was out of one kind of mustard powder and out of another kind of mustard seed. Otherwise I would have bought all four and mixed them. I emptied out the store of mustard seeds and powder by buying all that remained. On a different day I might have brown mustard powder and yellow mustard seeds. 

This and the like, any variation of powder and/or seeds that are around, even inexpensive tins from the grocery store is the best mustard available to you. Obviously you can mix it with anything you like, honey, tarragon, actual horseradish, what have you. Try it, you'll see.

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