Mostarda is a traditional Italian condiment made from fresh and dried fruit, syrup, and spices. It is served with cooked meats, poultry, and charcuterie. Mostarda is a spicy relish or chutney that is sometimes called mostarda di Frutta or just mustard fruit.
But what makes mostarda unique is that either mustard powder or whole mustard seeds. The spicy mustard, the sweet fruit, and the acidic syrup, usually made from wine or vinegar, all work together to create a unique flavour. Especially the mustard gives the dish a big kick. But unlike the heat of chiles, you feel on your tongue, the zest of mostarda is more like that of horseradish.
What is Mostarda Di Frutta?
Mostarda di Frutta is a condiment from Northern Italy made from fresh and dried fruit cooked with wine or vinegar and mustard. It tastes sour and sweet, like an Indian chutney. Mostarda is a seasonal mixture that keeps the tastes of summer through the fall and winter. The jam has a spicy, tangy kick from the wine, vinegar, mustard powder and seeds.
Try it with bollito misto, a board of cured meats, or on a sandwich. Most home-made mostarda is based on Mostarda di Cremona, also called Mostarda Cremonese, a mix of dried and fresh fruits. Other mostarda include the Venetian mostarda Vicentina, which uses a small pomme fruit called a quince.
Like relishes and chutneys, mostarda is served with other foods as a condiment. Mostarda was traditionally served with braised meats, which can be a bit heavy and fatty and need a fruity, sour, and spicy condiment to spice things up. A similar thing is citrus gremolata, a mixture of orange and lemon zest, fresh garlic, and parsley. It is usually served with braised veal shanks.
But in recent years, mostarda has come to be served with grilled and roasted meats, cold cuts, cheeses (like cheddar, provolone, and blue), crostini, bread sticks, olives, pickles, and nuts. You can put it on steak, a sandwich, a piece of cheese, or just spread it on toast.
How to Make Mostarda?
The traditional way to make mostarda is to macerate the fruit, save the liquid, and boil it down until it becomes a syrup. The fruit is then macerated in the syrup, and this process is repeated up to three times. Lastly, mustard is mixed into the syrup, which is poured over the fruit, cooked, and cooled.
To do this at home, cut up the fruit, cover it with sugar, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. The juices will come out during this time. Drain that liquid and boil it down until it becomes thick and syrupy. After it has cooled, pour it over the fruit and put it back in the fridge overnight.
Repeat this process one more time. Then, add some wine or vinegar and the powdered or whole mustard seeds and simmer the whole thing. Using whole mustard seeds is nice because they give the mostarda a little extra crunch. Here is a more in-depth look at how to make mostarda.
Mostarda is a tasty condiment from Northern Italy made by cooking fruit in a syrup that tastes like mustard. It has a little bit of sweet, a little bit of spicy, and a little bit of salty, and all of these flavours come together to make a unique taste. Mostarda is also known as Mostarda di frutta.
- Two tablespoons of butter, divided
- One tablespoon of finely minced shallots
- 1 cup white wine
- ¼ cup sherry
- Two tablespoons of Apple liquor such as Apple Jack (optional)
- ½ cup whole-grain prepared mustard
- 1.4-ounce container of whole mustard seeds (1/4 cup)
- One tablespoon of minced crystallized ginger
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
- Four baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into two-inch pieces (such as Granny Smith, Fuji, etc.)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 8-ounce container of dried apricots left whole
- 1 cup water
- The more juice your fruit will give off, the smaller you cut it. If you use oranges or tangerines, cut them into sections and then cut the sections so that their juices will come out more easily.
- Also, cut grapes in half if you want to use them.
- Remember that you’re making a condiment, not a fruit salad. Try to cut everything into pieces about half an inch long. As they lose water, they will shrink even more.
- You’ll need to soften dried fruits by simmering them in a small amount of water before adding them to the fresh fruit at the beginning of the process.
- A rushed version of mostarda can be made in as little as a day. Instead of draining and reducing the syrup, you would simmer the fruit, sugar, and water or wine together, add the mustard at the end, let it cool, and then serve. The taste won’t be as strong, but it will still taste good.
What are the Mostarda Varieties?
Mostarda di Cremona comes from the city of Cremona in the northern Italian region of Lombardy. It is made with apricots, peaches, kiwis, pears, apples, tangerines, cherries, quinces, and figs. Mostarda made in Cremona is made with whole fruit, while mostarda made elsewhere is made with chopped or mashed fruit.
In the northeastern Italian region of Veneto, quince is used to make the typical mostarda. Quince is in the same family as apples and pears, but it is much sourer. In Piedmont, northwest Italy, quince, pears, and grape must, crushed grapes and their juice, are used to make it. And in Tuscany, in the middle of Italy, mostarda is made from grape must and citron, a citrus fruit that tastes similar to lemons but is much less juicy.
One fruit can be used to make a simple mostarda, like a cherry mostarda or fig mostarda. Mostarda can also be made with tomatoes and sweet pumpkin.
Here are Some Recipes for Making Mostarda at Home
Cherry Mostarda- Remove the pits from 9 oz. Cherries and cut them in half. Cook them for 10-12 minutes in a pot with 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 ounce of dry white wine, the juice of half a lemon, and a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat, add 3-4 drops of mustard essence and let cool if you can’t find mustard essence, ½ oz. The mustard powder dissolved in a little warm white wine and water.
Apricot Mostarda- Heat 114 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a pot until the temperature reaches 212°F. Then, add 1 pound of cut-up apricots. Let it cool down for 3 to 4 minutes, then add six drops of mustard essence. Move the mostarda to jars that can’t be opened, put them in the fridge, and eat them within a month.
Fig Mostarda- Peel and cut into pieces 214 pounds of figs. Heat a half cup of dry white wine, two cups of sugar, and one cup of water in a pot. When it boils, cook it for 2 minutes, add the figs, and keep cooking it for another 20 minutes (the liquid should become syrupy). Take it off the heat and let it cool down. Depending on your spicy, add 5–7 drops of mustard essence. Put the fig mostarda in jars, cover and seal them, and let them sit for 20 minutes to ensure they are clean.
Peach Mostarda- Leave the peel on, cut the peaches in half, and remove the pits. Put them on a rack to cool after cooking them in 1 cup of water and 3 cups of sugar. When they are cool, peel them and put them in airtight jars. In the meantime, make the mostarda syrup by bringing 112 cups of sugar, one teaspoon of black peppercorns, one clove, 14 cups of vinegar, and 12 cups of dry white wine to a boil. Let boil for 15 minutes. Add two tablespoons of mustard powder, stir, and then pour the hot syrup over the peaches in their jars after cooling. There is no need to sterilize the jars. Mostarda is ready to eat after a week, but it can be kept for about four months in a cool, dark place with good airflow.
Squash Mostarda- One pound of squash should be cut into slices and cooked for 3 minutes in syrup with 3 cups of sugar, 10 ounces of water, and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Take the squash off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes in the syrup. Return the pot to the stove and simmer for another 5 minutes. Let it rest for 15 minutes, then simmer for another 5 minutes. Last, take out the slices of squash and let the syrup cool. To the syrup, add five drops of mustard essence. Put the squash in a jar, add the syrup, close it, and put it in the fridge for at least 6 hours. For the best result, use firm, dry squash flesh.
Tomato Mostarda- Wash 1 pound of tomatoes carefully, cut them into wedges, and sprinkle them with salt. Let them sit for a half-day so the liquid can come out. Afterward, squeeze out the liquid and add 212 cups of sugar, 12 cups of red wine vinegar, 14 ounces of water, one bay leaf, and cloves to a pot. Bring to a boil for 3–4 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it sit for 12 hours. Put the tomatoes in a jar after you’ve taken them out of the syrup. Add 10–12 drops of mustard essential oil to the syrup, stir, and pour it over the tomatoes. You can add more or less mustard oil, depending on your taste. Put the lid on the jar and boil it for 25 minutes.
How to Store Mostarda?
Some recipes for mostarda call for hot water or pressure canning, which means that unopened jars of mostarda can be kept for up to a year. But most of the time, a basic mostarda recipe should be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or two.
Mostarda stays fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days if it is covered with syrup. The business version will last for one month. Mostarda will last for a month or more in the fridge if it is stored in an airtight container, like a glass jar, that is sealed. Use a safe canning method to seal the mostarda, then store it in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
What are the Different Types of Italian Mostarda Di Frutta?
The Mostarda of Voghera
At least as far back as 1397, when Duke Galeazzo Visconti asked for a zero of candied mustard fruit to go with the meat on his table, Voghera’s mostarda has a history. This mustard, which is thought to be the ancestor of the mustard from Cremona, has a lot of fruit, like cherries, apricots, pears, mandarin oranges, peaches, figs, melons, and pumpkins. The fruit is candy-coated and then dipped in a sugar, glucose, and mustard flavouring syrup.
The Mostarda of Cremona
Around the 16th century, Cremona became known for its mostarda. By the end of the 18th century, there were already 20 mustard factories, most of which were run by families. Cremonese mostarda is made with whole or chopped fruit, sugar syrup, and mustard essence, and the same recipe can also make versions with just one type of fruit.
The Mantuan mostarda
Most of the time, Campanile apples and quince make Mantuan mostarda. The whole, unripe fruits are used, and the syrup is made of sugar and mustard essence.
The Vicentina mostarda
As a base, quince pulp or sometimes pear pulp is used in the recipe for Vicentina mostarda. It is also made with candied fruit, sugar, and mustard essential oil.
The Mostarda of Bologna
Bolognese mostarda is similar to jam because the fruit, mostly plums, pears, and quinces, is blended after being cooked with sugar, water, and lemon juice. The mixture is then given walnuts, raisins, and mustard.
Other mustards that are part of the culinary history of Northern Italy are those from Ford or Romagnola, Carpi, Venice, and Piedmont. In Southern Italy, mostarda is made by following a recipe that starts with must and flour and changes by adding ground almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, or chocolate.
Mostarda is often served in Northern Italy with bollito misto or boiled meats. Its complex flavour makes it a popular addition to meat and cheese boards. Try it on a sandwich or with fatty meats like pork. Mostarda is a spicy condiment made of candied fruit in syrup with different amounts of white mustard. The word moutarde, French, is where the name comes from (mustard). Mostarda is now a commercial product from Cremona, which was first made.