Raw Honey & Mustard Salad Dressing, and all about emulsifying your dressings
It's February and we don't eat salad very often at this time of year. But when we do, I like the dressing to be gorgeous. This Raw Honey and Mustard Salad Dressing fits the bill.
Part of the reason we started to keep bees was because I was spending a fortune on raw honey. With the benefit of hindsight that, of course, is a hilarious statement. The start up cost for keeping bees is pretty high and nobody in their right mind ever started keeping bees to save money.
The honey from our own bees feels even more precious than the raw honey we used to buy. We know where it came from, we know that it's completely untreated. All we do is put it through a filter and straight into jars, so all the goodies are retained. If you buy raw unprocessed honey, that should be what you're getting. Especially if it's from a local beekeeper.
Why make your own Salad Dressing?
I started making my own dressings a couple of years ago. It sounded like a lot of work. It isn't. And homemade is a world away from most of the shop-bought stuff. As a consequence, I literally haven't bought a bottle of dressing in at least 2 years.
Once you've made your own and realise how delicious it is, it's hard to go back to buying it. Actually, I did buy one bottle of dressing last year. We were staying in a self catering apartment in Belgium and it seemed a bit mad to take homemade dressing with us. So we bought some. Then I realised why I don't buy dressing anymore. The cheap stuff is... well... cheap. The expensive stuff is nice, but you can make it for pennies. So either way it makes sense to make your own.
You can make this dressing in small quantities so it's always fresh when you use it. Alternatively (and this is what I do), you can make a batch and keep it in the fridge.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar
The health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar are widely reported. I used to always buy Raw Health Organic Raw Cider Vinegar With the Mother, but now I make my own. I realise that sounds a bit keen. But it actually came about by accident, when I was making cider from scratch and one demijohn started looking as though it had gone wrong. I immediately separated it from the rest and ended up with apple cider vinegar.
I am very proud of my homemade mother, as you can see.
Now I consciously make all our apple cider vinegar, and I really must blog about that sometime. In the meantime, Apple Cider Vinegar is widely available.
Emulsifying your Dressing
Stabilisers are are usually added to bottled salad dressings to preserve their structure. Since oil and water don't happily mix, a stabiliser is added so it stays together on the supermarket shelf. So if you read the label on a bottle of salad dressing, you will usually see stabilisers, thickeners and/or gelling agents.
Since homemade dressing doesn't contain anything like that, its natural tendency may be to separate. Sometimes the vinegar sinks to the bottom the oil rises to the top. That will make your dressing watery. However you will be emulsifying this dressing so that won't happen.
An emulsion is a blend of two liquids that don’t normally stay bound together. Emulsified dressings are thick and cling to the leaves in your salad, because you've broken down the fat molecules. You do this by adding the oil to the rest of the dressing in a slow and steady stream whilst blending. You can either do this with a hand whisk or, if you're lazy like me, you can do it in a blender.
My trusty Salter Nutri Pro 1000 takes seconds to turn the ingredients into a lovely emulsified dressing. This ensures your dressing stays together without you having to add anything to it. If you're experimenting with dressings and find emulsifying it turns it a bit thick, you can simply thin it down with a little water, though do that a few drops at a time. It will suddenly 'go' when you least expect it.
Storing Homemade Dressing
Your emulsified dressing will happily sit in your fridge for a couple of weeks at least. I make a batch and pour it into a Squeezy Condiment Bottle. These bottles are inexpensive and are brilliant for all sorts of things.
They make it easy to drizzle the dressing over your salad, then pop it in the door of the fridge for next time. A quick shake of the bottle when you get it out of the fridge and you're ready to go. Plus you get to drizzle your dressing over your salad in the style of Masterchef. An added bonus, clearly.
This classic honey mustard combination is delicious. Raw honey is rich in enzymes, which is said to help break down salad greens and make them easier to digest. And I like to use a nice French Dijon Mustard for this, which is beautifully mild with just enough zing.
A nice variation is to use French Wholegrain Mustard which will add mustard seeds to your dressing. If you decide to go down the squeezy dressing bottle route, avoid using wholegrain mustard in this recipe as the seeds stick in the nozzle. Oh yes they do :)
Serving this lovely Honey and Mustard Dressing on a few fresh leaves in February reminds me that Spring is on the way.
Raw Honey and Mustard Dressing
A delicious salad dressing which is simple to make, with just the right amount of 'zing'.
Put your honey, mustard, vinegar and seasonings into a blender, leaving the oil to one side. Blitz for a few seconds.
Whilst pulsing your blender, add the oil bit by bit until completely incorporated. This will only take seconds.
Pour into a bottle. Ready to serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a bit beforehand to allow it to chill.
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