All across the hillsides, black mustard plants are growing like weeds. Actually, they pretty much are weeds… but also tasty, so it’s not entirely a bad thing. They pop up every spring, quickly pushing their way up to 4 or 5 feet of height. The hills turn to a uniform yellow-on-green, alive with the vibrant yellow of mustard flowers and buzzing bees.
If you think about it, that’s pretty much nature making an allusion to honey mustard.
The mustard plants have been slowly retreating over the past month or so, as the weather turns more towards summer. Rain has only come by once or twice in the last month, and then only enough to make some of my cacti unhappy. If ever I’m going to get a chance to make mustard at home, it’s got to be now.
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Making Mustard at Home
Mustard plants are pretty much completely edible. Different parts of the plant will have different flavors and intensities, but everything from the roots to the seeds can be eaten. The leaves can be used raw in salads when fairly young, though the mustard flavor grows stronger as the plant ages.
I didn’t want to fuddle around and try to collect mustard seeds. I also didn’t want to dig up the plants to get at their roots. The long and short of it is – the flowers are the most noticeable part of the plant, and they have a lovely yellow color. I was under the impression that this is where regular (table) mustard gets its color. Little did I know, until after I’d made the mustard and finally read the ingredients label on a mustard bottle, the seeds are used for making mustard. Mustard-makers probably use turmeric to get the color right.
The (Experimental) Recipe
|Mustard Flowers||2 big handfuls|
|Apple Cider Vinegar||1/4 cup|
- Get some water boiling in a pot
- Toss the mustard flowers in the water for 1-2 minutes. This will help clean them, get any bugs off, and cut down on some of the harsher flavors
- Strain the flowers out of the water
- Combine the vinegar, salt, garlic, and mustard flowers in a blender
The mustard that this makes is a little herbal and strong. I’m not sure what I can use it on, but it’s pretty alright in small amounts. The color is about what I’d expect out of mustard, and the flavor is fairly similar. The flowers smelled a bit like spinach when they were first boiled, but now the scent is quite definitely mustard. I think that next time, I’ll try to collect some mustard seeds, and use white vinegar instead of apple cider. Still, it was a pretty fun learning experiment to make mustard from the wild!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, please stay in touch!