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Thread: Bottling herring in mustard sauce?

  1. #1
    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    Default Bottling herring in mustard sauce?

    I love the store-bought sardines packed in mustard and tomato sauce. Last year I bottled some. The tomato/Tabasco ones turned out tasty and I was happy with them. But the mustard herring were not so good. They tasted good as bottled herring goes but they weren't like the kind in the store. I tried just squirting a blob of prepared mustard inside and it just turned out to be a brown, tasteless blob on top of my herring. I tried ground mustard just because that's all I had. We have a jillion small herring in our bay right now. I have perused the internet trying to find a good bottling recipe for sardines/herring in mustard sauce but I can't find anything. Does anyone have any recipes for this or suggested ingredient I could try?

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    My guess is that large companies that are canning fish in mustard sauce are very carefully controlling temperature and canning time to minimize overcooking. Cooking mustard generally causes it to become much more mild. At home, you probably can't achieve the controlled conditions that they achieve. A couple suggestions that you might try:

    1) If you are brave you could think about a modified hot pack approach where you get the sardines boiling hot in jars before you even add the pre-heated mustard sauce and lids, thereby minimizing the amount of time that you actually need to pressure cook the jars. I warn you to be very careful with this approach. If you follow the blue book methods for canning fish, consider how to follow the bare minimum recommendations, and how can you accelerate the cooling process. I might consider cooling the pressure cooker with a wet towel to get pressure to drop faster and then getting the jars into a lukewarm water bath immediately after opening the cooker.

    2) try making your own mustard with Chinese mustard powder, or adding some Chinese mustard powder to prepared mustard that you by. Chinese mustard is a different plant, but it tastes similar and is more pungent, therefore it might hold up better in high heat. Similarly, very fresh mustard flour is going to have more heat than prepared mustard or old mustard seed, so look for the freshest mustard flour you can find.

    3) Experiment with adding mustard oil to your mustard sauce. Mustard oil doesn't have the heat that mustard powder has, but it does hold it's flavor well when cooked.

    4) You might want to simply re-examine your expectations. Perhaps you should can your sardines with heat stable flavors, and simply add fresh prepared mustard directly to it when you open it to eat.

    I share your frustration, as pressure cooking destroys many delicate flavors.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Instead of actual heat canning, you might want to try a couple batches that you just pickle with mustard added. You won't get long shelf life, but sometimes to get the product we want we have to live with some compromises. The other option would be to can conventionally and just add mustard when you serve it.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    HikerDan, I tried your advice last night with mustard powder. I didn't have any Chinese powder so I used regular mustard powder. I had to can them now because herring just don't last. The mustard powder worked a little better but not good. The herring tasted great but lack the mustard taste I wanted. I just ordered some Chinese mustard so I can have some on hand. I hadn't heard of mustard oil so I researched it and I think you might have something. I'll try that too. All my fish turn out good so if I don't get the level of mustard flavor I want, it's not a waste. I can experiment.
    On the good side, my tomato/Tabasco herring turned out awesome. Thanks again, Chuck.

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    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    Paul H, while researching recipes, I ran across several for pickled fish. I've never tried it before or even thought of adding mustard to it. It makes sense that if heat destroys the mustard flavor then pickling shouldn't. The herring are about gone but I'm going to try pickling some salmon this fall. Thanks for the suggestion. Chuck.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Chuck,

    Let us know how the pickling works. I love herring but have only had them store bought. I have pickled rainbow trout and it came out really good.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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