It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
There was a time in my life -- we'll call it my early early twenties -- when the only thing that could cure a bad day, or make a great day better, was a trip to the Zabar's mustard section. Like an artist gets lost in a painting, I'd get lost in the dijons, the honeys, and the weirder flavors like fig and walnut.
Over time, and with the help of a membership to the National Mustard Museum's Mustard of the Month Club, I accumulated more than 80 jars. I'd often spread four types onto one sandwich, and occasionally, I'd just eat it with a spoon.
It was an obsession of the not-too-unhealthy type -- Google "health benefits of mustard" and you'll get a day's worth of reading. Eventually, though, I started to pick favorites. Today my mustard collection exists in a paired down manner: only my favorites, and those with sentimental value or cool jars. And now that I live very far from Zabar's, adding to my collection often requires making it from scratch.
Making mustard is quite easy and it's fun, too. There are a million twists that you can put on it. By definition, mustard consists of mustard seed (I like yellow) blended with a liquid (often vinegar). I like adding a pinch of salt, some kind of sweetener, and then cooking it down a bit to reduce the hotness.
More: Learn how to make your own ketchup, too.
This is a very basic honey mustard recipe, but I encourage you to experiment with different vinegars or other liquids; adding spices (I like curry!); and subbing out the honey for other sweeteners like molasses, sugar, or maple syrup. The kitchen is your mustardy oyster! Just make sure you've got enough hot dogs on hand.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup ground yellow mustard seed
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup honey
1 pinch salt
Combine all your ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens. Remove from heat, let it cool, and then store in an airtight container.
The fridge will preserve its hotness, while storing it at room temperature will let it mellow out. Many people like to let it sit for a night before eating it because the flavors will develop more, but I'm never that patient.
Feel free to experiment with different ingredients. Replace the white wine vinegar with red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or straight up wine. You can also add a bit of hard booze. Sweeteners like molasses, maple syrup, jam, sugar, or a combination are fun as well. Add a bit of turmeric for a bright yellow color and even more health benefits. And spices like curry, paprika, or even wasabi powder are super tasty to add, too.
Photos by Molly Yeh