Ancient Honey (date) Mustard

“Mustard is a plant. Mustard is an herb. Mustard is a condiment. Mustard is a sauce. Mustard is a green leafy vegetable. Mustard is a natural medicine.”
—via foodtimeline.org, Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999

Mustard is not only my favorite condiment, in all its forms. It is the original condiment. Ground wild mustard seed paste goes back far into prehistory. We can’t even say who or when it was invented.

We do know it was popular with the Sumerians and their descendents, covered in HISTORY OF FOOD EPISODE 4: How to Turn Food into Wealth.  Mustard was used for both its seeds and its leaves, and is referenced in multiple cuneiform texts.

This is my version of a sweet and spicy ancient honey mustard, using dates and their syrup as the sweetener and nothing else but mustard seeds and vinegar.  But you can use any combination of seeds, greens, other spices, herbs, or milk can make your own favorite mustard.

For Pickled Mustard Seeds:
1/2 cup mixed mustard seeds
2 cups vinegar, boiled

Pour the boiling vinegar over the mustard seeds and let sit and room temperature for 24 hours.

 

For dry mix:
1/2 cup mixed mustard seeds
2 teaspoons salt

In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the mustard seeds into a powder, mix with salt and set aside.

 

Drain the pickled mustard seeds but keep the liquid. Add the drained pickled to the food grinder and mash or pulse until slightly creamy, but still with mainly whole mustard seeds.

 

For Date Syrup:
1/2 cup chopped raw dates.
3 cups water

At a not too aggressive boil and stirring frequently, especially in the final stages, reduce the dates and water until its thicker and more syrupy, about 30-40 minutes.

 

Combine all ingredients and slowly add the reserve vinegar back in until you get it to a consistency you like (I add most of it back in).Let the mustard marinate at room temperature for 3-8 hours, depending on desired spiciness. Refrigerate and keep for a long time.

 

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