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Will My Weapons-grade Mustard Mellow?

Dijon mustard is a staple in this house. Having had some good experience with Trader Joe's condiments, I tried a jar of the TJs Dijon to save a few cents. Holy Cow! I am a fan of the Vaporously Pungent Food Group and happily load on the horseradish and strong mustards, but THIS stuff is beyond strong - nearly inedibly so.

So: will mustard diminish in strength over time the way horseradish does? If I keep this jar around, am I going to find a more palatable condiment developing over time? IsTJs Dijon always like a trench warfare weapon, or did I just have the bad luck of an extra-noxious batch?


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  1. i haven't tried the trader joe's dijon yet, but have it in my pantry. i'll give it a try (although i have about 6 other mustards already open).
    i have not found mustard to mellow with age.

    1. I don' think mustard's mellow with age. I would use it by cutting it with a bit of mayo or sour cream...

      1 Reply
      1. re: KiltedCook

        Doh! Cutting it! Why didn't that even occur to me?!

        Good...now I am going to wait this puppy out and see what happens. Wouldn't be the first time something languished in the fridge for an extended time. Or maybe I'll see if I can develop a cast iron gut like Ed, below!

        I has been fine in vinaigrettes, just used more judiciously.


      2. Contrary to the above posters, I find that older mustard is much less pungent than fresh. I noticed this when I kept putting gobs of the stuff on a hot dog, and not feeling the heat. The next day, I bought a new jar, and thinking it would be mild, did the same thing. Nasty surprise! Now, I gauge how much to put on my sandwich based on how much is left in the jar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: phofiend

          In the last couple of years, I read something (in CI perhaps?) that even never-opened mustards will start to lose their heat over time.

        2. I've been chuckling over your post for the last couple of days. I love TJ's Dijon and think it is about the most mustardy tasting mustard out there.

          But recently, I've wondered if they had toned it down abit. From your post, I guess not - it's just that I am used to it.

          Don't give up on it. I love it on sandwiches and think it pairs well with dill pickles, liverwurst , etc.

          1. Interesting - I just heard an ad for TJ's own dijon mustard on the radio today and had thought to try it once I get through the humongo jar of Maille I have in my fridge from Williams-Sonoma (probably the only bargain item they sell! LOL). But I've never known Dijon to be super strong in mustard flavor - but I see from Ed's post that it is a mustardy-mustard. Hmmmmm....

            1. I'm envious - no TJs here and I'd love to find a mustard that bites back!

              1. It definitely mellows with age. But if you want to hurry the process along, you may want to try heating it.

                Back when I was making my own mustards I discovered that just mixing mustard powder with cold water would make a real sinus-blaster, while if you simmered the mustard for too long it would lose its bite entirely.

                If you were to put the TJ's mustard in a double boiler full of hot water, then place it over a simmering pan for half an hour, stirring occasionally, I'll bet it would mellow significantly.

                Another lesson from my mustard-making days, though: watch out for fumes. Seriously.

                4 Replies
                1. re: alanbarnes

                  Couldn't you just microwave it on low?

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Maybe if you put it in a bowl. But in the jar - thick paste, fair amount of water, relatively little surface area - you'd run a decent chance of decorating the inside of your microwave with mustard.

                  2. re: alanbarnes

                    my grandaddy got mustard-gassed in the ww1 trenches of france.

                    (the closest "fume" call i ever had was when making evil jungle prince vegetables from keo's thai cuisine cookbook -- the chilies frying with the other aromatics (lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves) literally took my breath away).

                    1. re: alkapal

                      I think it was somebody here on Chowhound who talked about how long to bhun a Thai curry paste - "cook it until you sneeze." I liked that.

                      If you want an intense sinus-clearing experience, try making prepared horseradish in the food processor. I guess the fumes are heavier than air; they tend to stay right in the bowl. A foot away? No problem. Stick your nose down in there, though, and it can drop you to your knees. Big fun.