18 October 2010

Pear-Cranberry Mostarda

It must be the colors of the leaves out my kitchen window, or the pile of pears on my counter, but I figured that today was the day to make a batch of pear and cranberry mostarda for the winter pork roasts and broiled chicken breasts that will be coming along when there's a real snap in the air. Besides, I have a cold and need something strongly scented to get to my sense of smell. It seems non-existent right now. I've lined up most of the ingredients on the shelf and have pulled out my canning equipment, so let's get to it!
Pear - Cranberry Mostarda - printer friendly

All I need now is the sugar. There HAS to be sugar, right?

Clean jars and new lids for the rings that I re-use until they rust ... it's the Yankee way.What can I say?

This recipe came to me in one of those supermarket booklets that we pick up because they're free with so much money spent in the grocery aisles. The recipe was tucked in with a list of recipes that a foodie might be tempted to make for holiday gifts. I was game. The first year I made it, I kept three jars and tucked the others into my kids' Christmas stockings. Last year, I passed it on to friends at church. This year?  Hmm ... will be giving it some thought. I do know that I'm thinking of trying it as a topping for a baked Brie at Thanksgiving. I also will be using it to glaze a roasted chicken and having it alongside a fruity couscous with some broiled lambchops. Those are my ideas. Get your own percolating, too!

This mostarda is obscenely easy to make and the spices make the kitchen smell divine. Did I just type the word 'divine' ?  Whoa!  Anyway, it's worth the tiny effort and it keeps in a dark, cool spot for a couple months. So, go for it. As with any canning venture, be clean and precise when dealing with the jars, lids, and water bath. That's my disclaimer, folks ... and I'm still alive to tell the tale!

So, here we go!

The spices are so crisp and homey ... mustard seed, ginger, cloves, black pepper, lemon peel, and salt.

Line up some sherry, the dried cranberries, and water. Measure out some sugar. Throw all this in a pan and bring it to a boil to soften and spice the cranberries.

Peel, core,  and do a coarse chop on your pears. This is the biggest pain in the neck with this recipe. Others may look at peeling apples, pears, potatoes, etc as therapy. Not me... I need a prep guy in my kitchen and unfortunately, Silent Bob was nowhere to be seen this afternoon. He was 'out woodin' in the back forty ... damn! So... I persevered and did the peel and dice on my own. Applause, please...

Throw the pears into the softened cranberries and watch it from here on in ... don't make mushy pears. keep a bit of a bite in the pears, as they will finish in the hot water canning bath. I also thicken the sauce a bit with a cornstarch and water slurry. That goes in just at the last minute and bubbles a bit before putting the mostarda up in the jars.

And there you have it! Listen for the satisfying 'pop' of a successful seal after you place the jars in a ten minute water bath and you will have a spicy yum treat in the dead of winter ... that's all. TTFN!


  1. I am new to canning this year and I love it. The two I made were dill garlic pickles and red pepper jelly. This sounds so good I think I might try it in a couple of weeks. Kind of busy at the moment. Thank you for sharing!

  2. @ From Beyond ... : I saw that red pepper jelly recipe and passed it on to my daughter! When I was in NYC last weekend, I opened her pantry and there they were ... red pepper jelly from your recipe and her garden grown peppers! Canning ... it's a wonderful thing!

  3. OMG Susan - I am coming back for this recipe soon....You have inspired me to make these as holiday gifts. How fun!

    PS - Hear my applause...wish I was there to help with the peeling. BTW - right there with you on the Brie!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  4. Oh my goodness, I can smell that cooking!! I would love some of that on some pork roast. And do you mind if I borrow your word, "divine"? I'm running out of ways to describe my recipes and I don't think I've used that one yet, lol! :o)

  5. @ Brenda - 'Divine' ... it's all yours, dear! Makes me feel like a 'country club maven' ... and I'm not sure I want to admit that I'm that old .... =) ... NOT that you're that old either! =) =) =/

  6. I had never heard of mostarda until reading your post -- it does sound "divine"! Thanks for the inspiration to try something new.

  7. @ Yankee - Hurray! You made my day! I love it when someone is seeing something new here and wants to act on it! I went looking for a small covered dish to bake Brie in today, so I can top it with this mostarda at Thanksgiving time ... I am just thinking it will be , dare I say?, 'divine'!


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