Sometimes in the early summer, there is a beautiful chartreuse-colored field I can see directly east of my farm about a mile. Curious about it, as it seems it might be one of William's fields, I asked him a few years back, "What is that beautiful yellowish-green flower growing in that field over there?" Expecting the softened face of someone seeing in their mind's eye something beautiful and pleasant, I was surprised to see disgust flowing across his brow and lips. Instead of this beautiful flower giving him joy like it did me across the valley, he was clearly irritated and annoyed with the object of my question. Turns out, this thing I find so lovely is mustard growing wild all over his property.
Because he grows organically, the mustard grows to seed in his oats. After combining the oats, mountains of mustard seed flow into the gravity box or grain bin sinking to the bottom as the lighter oats rise to the top.
As you know, Bill likes to use/reuse/save everything, so when these tiny seeds flow out of the fanning mill as he's cleaning oats for Spring planting, he starts to get ideas, even though his mother always said not to go gettin' any of those! His idea - maybe Sarah can make mustard? You know, like sandwich mustard!
Well, yes. She can!
I started making mustard from William's weeds a few years ago. It's one of my secret not-so-secret ingredients in our Maple Mustard Vinaigrette, in fact.
Sounds like mustard seed was brought to the Americas by European immigrants who had long ago been using it for seasoning, spice and condiments in cooking. This particular variety is a brown mustard which lends itself nicely to grainy mustards. After washing and drying the seed, I grind it in a coffee grinder to crack some of the seeds open. Then I soak it in
water to get the chemical reaction that delivers the heat going, and add salt, some of my dad's honey and apple cider vinegar from our apple trees. I have made beer mustard, honey mustard, and herbed mustard...all tasting very spicy and full-flavored!
Mustard grows like a weed. If allowed to seed, seed it will. It's eye candy growing in the fields, and I've heard the bees like it, too! What some people consider weeds, others consider a gourmet treat!
You will find a new batch of Whole Grain Honey-Mustard at this coming weekend's Barn Door's Open Pop-Up.