Urban Pantry by Amy Pennington
I like diversity in my pantry. Sticking to the same recipe year after year gets a bit dull, and I grow tired of canning with the same recipes each season. In my quest to try something new, I decided to try a fruit mustard. Italians cook up fruit and add mustard to the syrup, calling it mostarda—a spicy, fruity combination served alongside meat. For this recipe, I make a pot of apricot jam, soak mustard seeds in apple cider vinegar, and cook them together into a thick condiment. It is similar to honey mustard, but the apricot is more pronounced and the mustard is more spicy than sweet. Apricot Mustard is a well-matched condiment for cured meats and cheese, and it’s excellent when blended with mascarpone and used as a spread. This mustard can also be used as a glaze on roasted meats (brush mustard on the meat in the last 10 minutes of cooking). Store opened jars in the fridge. It will keep for many months once opened.
Makes about 4 half-pints | start to finish: 2 days from Edible Seattle May/June 2011
2 pounds apricots, pitted and halved
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 lemon, outer zest grated, halved, and juiced, seeds reserved in a muslin bag
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon ground yellow mustard
1 cup apple cider vinegar
In a large saucepan, combine the apricots, sugar, water, lemon juice, juiced lemon halves, seed bag, and zest. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a simmer. Skim any foam from the surface as it cooks. Cook until the fruit is soft and the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and (leaving all fruit in the saucepan) cover and hold in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.
While the apricots are cooking, smash the brown and yellow mustard seeds with a mortar and pestle. Work in small batches until most of the seeds are broken and slightly ground. You can also use a spice grinder, but be sure to grind them only to a coarse meal. Put the smashed seeds and ground mustard in a small bowl, pour in the apple cider vinegar, and set aside, covered, on the countertop, at least 6 hours or overnight.
The next morning, prepare jars for canning. You’ll need to sterilize the empty jars for this recipe. Put a small plate in the freezer. (You will use this later to check the set.) Remove the lemon halves and seed bag from the stockpot, pressing out the remaining juice and pulp.
Return the saucepan of fruit to medium heat on the stovetop and cook down until thickened and amber in color, about 30 minutes. Stir in the vinegar-mustard seed mixture until combined. Scoop out about a cup of the apricot mustard and purée in a blender, on high speed, until creamy and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add this purée back to the pot and cook until thick and set, about 15 to 30 minutes. Skim foam as necessary.
To test the set, remove the plate from the freezer and add a small spoon of mustard to the plate. Push the mustard with your fingertip. It should wrinkle, indicating it has set. If the mustard is loose, return the mixture to the heat and cook for another 10 minutes, checking the set until the desired consistency is reached. Add the mustard to the sterilized jars, and gently tap the bottom of the jars on the counter to release any air bubbles. Using a clean damp towel, wipe the rims of the jars and put the lids and rings on the jars.