Country Living Series

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Canning mustard

Today I canned mustard. Or to be more accurate, I RE-canned mustard.

If you remember, I like to buy things in bulk whenever possible. That includes condiments. Trouble is, I don't like big honkin' containers of condiments taking up refrigerator space. So whenever possible, I re-can things into smaller jars.

Last year I tried this with mustard and it was such a success that I knew I would do it again. We just finished up the last of the re-canned mustard yesterday, so today I canned three large jugs of mustard.

Three jugs at 105 ounces of mustard each equals 315 ounces, divided by 16 ounces (for a pint jar) equals a bit under 20 pints of mustard. So I washed 20 pint jars.

Last year when I heated the mustard up in a pot, the very bottom layer got burned despite my stirring. The burned taste carried over into the canned mustard. It wasn't bad, but it was there, so this time I used a double-boiler system to avoid burning the mustard.

Filling clean jars with hot mustard.

Twenty pints, just as I calced.

Naturally I used my beloved Tattler reusable canning lids.

Into the canner. Mustard is acidic enough that it can be water-bath canned.

I only have room on my stove for two oversized pots which held a total of 16 jars, so four jars had to go into the canner during a second round. (I managed to break one of the jars, so I ended up with 19 finished pints.)

The mustard is processed for 20 minutes at a rolling boil.

I find this to be a very economical alternative to buying the little bottles of mustard bought at the grocery store. Of course it helps to have lids and jars already in stock!


  1. about this re-processing..i have a question for you and really would like an answer from someone. can you reprocess things like corn, green beans, chili beans, baked beans that you can buy in those big six lb. cans? i know that this can be done with tomatoes, salsa, mustard etc.. but what about the other stuff... thanks in advance..caryn from mississippi

  2. I've looked at the Tattler lids but wonder about the viability of the rings. It seems I read somewhere that the rings will stay supple for about 4 cannings. At their cost, is it a clear savings, or do you purchase them just for the security of not having to search for one-use lids when you need them?

    I LOVE the way you save money by buying bulk. That's how I buy my meat - ON SALE - for canning. It would take some doing to eat better than home canned chicken.

    Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with us.

  3. Answering questions:

    Anon 8:21, I don't see why you can't re-can all those things you mentioned, though especially with vegetables you may lose some of the quality, i.e. crispness or flavor. But chili and baked beans ought to do just fine. Be sure to process them for the recommended time and pressure, just as if you were processing them fresh.

    Anon 8:24, Tattler says its rubber gaskets are good for twenty uses. I've only had my lids/rings for about a year and since I have 1000 of them, I haven't had much opportunity to re-use many. However you might address your concerns directly to Tattler. I've found their customer service folks to be very helpful and -- get this -- HONEST. Let me know what you find out.

    - Patrice

  4. My wife must be getting so tired of me forwarding your posts to her...but I can't help it! They're so helpful!

  5. How will you use that much mustard in a year?
    (Dumb Question, I'm sure). What recipes? Thanks!
    --K in OK <><

  6. My husband eats a lot of sandwiches (wink).

    - Patrice

  7. I totally stole your idea for re-packaging mustard a while back, and finally opened up a Tattler-lidded one the other night. Um, wow. The lid is now bright, bright, bright on the underside, and I'm thinking I'm only going to ever use it for mustard from now on (it does have a very, very faint mustard smell despite a few washings). Wondering if you've had the same thing.

    Anon, I've used at least a half dozen of my Tattler lids a good 3-4 times already in the last year - water bath and pressure canning, and they're still doing okay. I've been playing around with them to see how long the gaskets last and trying them out with various batches of goodies before I full on invest in a ton more.

  8. I never considered recanning from larger packaging. Do you just follow Ball Blue book for times/pressures as if the item were freshly made?

  9. Michele, my two canning reference books (Ball Blue Book and Putting Food By) didn't have references to canning mustard, so I looked it up online. I found this link:
    ...and that website is highly useful for other things as well.

    - Patrice

  10. Hi, I just found your blog. I plan on learning to can this year. From K in OK's comment (which isn't me even though the name fits!), are home-canned goods only good for a year, then? Or is it different for different contents?

  11. Kris, I've eaten home canned food that was ten years old and it was fine. Obviously quality will deteriorate over time (and ten years is a LONG time) but properly-done home-canned food will definitely last a LOT longer than a year.

    Never store your canned food with the rings on the jars. Rings can rust over time, but also you'll know more quickly if food has gone bad due to a bad seal if the ring isn't artificially holding the lid in place. If you pick up a jar and the lid comes right off, throw the food away in a place where pets or livestock can't get to it.

    - Patrice

  12. Patrice et al., I buy the same bulk mustard containers at Costco as well as the same size ketchup containers.

    For those who don't want to take the time to re-can the mustard or who don't have space for 40 pint jars of mustard & ketchup. you might try this:

    I wash out the tall 44 oz. bottom-up squeeze ketchup containers that come 3 to a purchase at Costco. Three of these will hold all the mustard from one of the bulk mustard or ketchup jars.

    Yes, it takes up space in the fridge, but if you have a big family or eat a lot of sandwiches (like Patrice's husband ) :-)it beats standing over a hot stove for hours to can the condiments. Yes, it takes electricity to store things in the fridge, but we have a large enough fridge to tuck these in the back, and they "tuck" better than the one large bulk jar because they can be squeezed into the door compartments fairly easily.

    These ketchup bottles work great with mustard. I wish I had thought of this sooner, as buying the bulk jar is WAY cheaper than buying the smaller, more convenient squeeze bottles.

    Anyway, just wanted to share "another way" to take advantage of bulk jars and use fridge space better. ;-)

  13. This is perfect! We are almost out of my last jar of yellow mustard and I was thinking about doing this based on your last post on it. I just hadn't gotten around to looking at the prices at our Sams and at your older post.

    Thanks for reading my mind!


  14. Patrice -
    Hate to be a turd in the punchbowl again....
    But how is it more economical when you are paying for the gas or electric for the stove - not to mention the electricity to pump water from the well?

    I use to "re-can" stuff like pizza sauce, ketchup & canned fruit - but gave up after I realized that there was almost no savings due to energy costs - not to mention the deterioration in food quality - or the "energy costs" of human labor.
    For me my time and effort were better spent elsewhere.

    I now make pizza sauce in the summer when tomatoes are ripe and abundant and buy ketchup by the bottle or make it.
    The paper $$$ I save on "in house" food production can be spent somewhere else in the household budget.
    Homemade mustard is pretty good - but doesn't compare to the store bought yellow stuff.
    For my household I think it is better to find a good recipe and homemade substitutions for big box grocery warehouse food.

    After all what will you do when the re-canned mustard runs out?
    Buy more?
    That doesn't seem to be very sustainable or self-reliant in the long run.
    I'll go away now .........

  15. I'm curious about the type of mustard yours is: It says "French" on the label, but French mustard paste is vinegar-based and simply doesn't need any kind of preservation. The upper part tends to dry out but the preparation releases some oils and you can just add another thin film of oil over it if you want, I've had opened jars sit in the cupboard for over a year without any noticeable change.
    I guess that despite the label, yours is different?


  16. Nope, it's ordinary French's mustard. I wasn't aware it didn't need to be preserved. Ah well, live and learn...

    - Patrice

  17. Obviously, try with a small amount first. I never had any issues no matter which brand I chose, from the cheapest "economy" to the finest expensive ones, but they may be different from the ones in the US. Summers are very mild here too, though I doubt this has anything to do with the issue.
    From my experience you just have to make sure the surface is covered with oil (the ones from the mustard or additional oil) if you want to avoid drying.


  18. I just purchased my first water bath canner and my daughter and I plan to do canning together this summer. Being new at this I just wondered if you could tell me why you had to heat the mustard before you put it in the glass jars. It seems like double cooking to me but I know there is a logical reason. I use mustard in cooking and the occasional sandwhich and my teeagers are now parents themselves but I just can't imangine using that much mustard in a year. I think we use two regular size store bought containers a year. LOL!

  19. I think it is a good idea as far as long term storage the mustard hardly ever comes in glass jars anymore and if a food shortage or war or other grocerystore threatining event comes you will have plenty of long lasting mustard. if you think 1.50-2.50 is high to pay for mustard well in crisis it could be 50.00 for a little bottle. I have seen the steady increase of food prices in the market. stock up while it's cheap

  20. well, how did I miss this post?!?!??! On my list now& I LOVE those tattler lids. Trying to find a co-op buy for them

  21. I'd like to know if I can reprocess jam from large bulk containers? And as for the mustard... does it need to be heated first if it is put in a water bath for a sufficient time?

    1. For re-canning jam, make sure to sterilize your jars, then fill with hot jam and process in a water-bath for ten minutes. For mustard... yes, heat it first (the jars need to be clean but not necessarily sterilized) and fill the jars, then process in a water bath for 20 minutes.

      - Patrice

  22. I grew up in a time when all we had were ice boxes, not refrigerators.There are just some things that need not take up room in a fridge. Mustard, ketchup, pickles, etc, etc