Updated – January 4, 2021
“Recipe reprinted with permission from Preserving by the Pint © 2014 by Marisa McClellan, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.”
Traditionally, mostarda is whole or sliced fruit that’s been preserved in a mustard oil-infused syrup. The end result looks like innocent preserved fruit, but has the sharpness and sinus-clearing power of horseradish. Because mustard oil is hard to find in the US, I’ve combined mustard seeds and a few pinches of hot pepper to replicate that arresting flavor. Try it with cold roast beef or aged cheddar.
Makes 3 half-pints
1 pound pears
1 pound apples
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon aleppo pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Wash apples and pears well.
Combine honey with one cup of water, mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar, Aleppo pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil.
While the syrup heats, peel, core, and slice the fruit. As you cut each piece, slip it into the cooking syrup, so that the fruit never gets a chance to oxidize.
Once all the fruit segments are in the syrup, let it cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the apples and pears are starting to go translucent, but before they fall apart.
When time is up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the fruit into the prepared jars. Return the syrup to the stove, bring it back up to a boil and cook until it has reduced by at least half and looks quite thick. Ladle the thickened syrup over the fruit, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Tap the jars to help remove any trapped air bubbles and add more syrup, if necessary.
Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.