Cherry Mostarda

Make your 4th of July cook-out extra special with this spicy sweet relish.

cherry mostarda

It’s Everything Cherries Week here at Seed to Pantry. That’s because I was gifted with a box of fresh, sweet cherries from the Washington State Fruit Commission as part of their Canbassador program.

What is a Canbassador?

As a Canbassador my job is to make all kinds of wonderful preserved cherry items and then write about them. (Yeah, it’s a tough job, but I am up for it!)

You can find out lots more about our wonderful Washington stone fruits over at the SweetPreservation site. There are instructions for canning and freezing fruit, all kinds of ideas for throwing a “preservation party,” recipes, tips for choosing the best fruit at the grocery store, and professionally designed labels to download. You can even get a copy of the “Of course I canned” badge for your own blog.

Yesterday I wrote about Cherry-Lime Jam. Today it’s an unusual Italian specialty; mostarda.

What is Mostarda?

Mostarda, also known as mostarda di frutta, is a fruit-mustard concoction from Italy’s Piedmont region. It is basically a relish-like combination of fruit and mustard. In my research though, I came across all kinds of mostarda recipes.

Some recipes used whole fresh fruits in a clear syrup. Some recipes called for dried fruits and were similar to chutney. Some recipes took days to complete while others were made in a matter of minutes. The recipes called for dried mustard or prepared mustard or mustard seeds or sometimes all three.

This recipe is based on the very easy-to-prepare recipe found in Paul Virant’s book The Preservation Kitchen. The Preservation Kitchen is one of my favorite preserving books, and one I pull from the shelf when looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary.

Cherry Mostarda Recipe

Although many mostarda recipes call for whole fruit, I chopped the cherries for a more relish-like texture. You can use all red wine or all red wine vinegar, or half and half as I do here. Use a good quality red wine vinegar to give the cherries more full-bodied flavor, or follow these directions to make your own Red Wine Vinegar.

Cherry Mostarda
Mostarda, also known as mostarda di frutta, is a fruit-mustard concoction from Italy’s Piedmont region.
Recipe type: Relish
Serves: 3 half-pints
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp red wine
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground prepared mustard
  • 1 Tbsp powdered mustard
  • 1 tsp crushed brown mustard seeds or ½ Tbsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups pitted and chopped Bing cherries
  1. Combine all ingredients except cherries in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Add cherries, reduce heat to medium, and cook until cherries are soft and the syrup has slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  3. Pour into ½ pint jars. Mostarda will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months or the freezer for up to a year.

Can You Water Bath Mostarda?

Some mostarda recipes call for processing in a water bath canner. However, since I make my own vinegar, and I use half vinegar/half wine in this recipe, I am not convinced it is acidic enough to safely can. So be safe and keep mostarda in the freezer like I do.

How To Serve Mostarda

Top everyday grilled frankfurters, hamburgers with spicy-sweet mostarda for extra tang. Cherry mostarda also adds a crowning touch to veggie burgers or veggie dogs. Use mostarda spooned over a round of brie or as a pretzel dip. It is also good spread on a turkey sandwich or brushed over grilled zucchini and eggplant. I am particularly fond of Cherry Mostarda served on warm potato pieriogies.

More Cherry Recipes

Check back all this week for even more jam and preserves recipes using sweet cherries from Washington!

Full disclosure: This recipe was made with cherries I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at Find her professional food writing info at

June 21, 2016

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  1. Alex

    Can you use frozen cherries for this without changing the integrity of the finished product?

    • admin

      Alex, frozen cherries should work just fine. Good luck!



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