Pair of storage jars for mostarda fina (fruit pickle) Storage containers for preserved food often had substantial capacity like this vibrant pair for ‘Mostarda f[in]a’, a fruit pickle or sauce for culinary and medicinal purposes. Recipes usually included a purée of quinces, pears, or apples, to which chopped candied fruit, sugar, mustard, spices, and salt were added, before cooking and thickening in cooked must (‘mosto cotto’ made from boiled down grape juice) whose high sugar content and acidity made it an excellent preservative. Combined with mustard seeds that have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, it was a highly effective way of preserving fruit – still in use today, especially in north Italy.
Workshop of Domenego da Venezia, Venice, Italy, c.1560 – 70
C.B. Marlay Bequest (MAR.C.68A-1912 and MAR.C.68B-1912)