Mustard essential oil (olio essenziale senape) for Mostarda di Cremona

I was looking for a source of mustard essential oil (olio essenziale senape) to use in making Mostarda di Cremona, an Italian fruit glacé condiment for boiled meats that has a very strong mustard flavor and nasal burn, if made properly. I found 2 old threads on the subject here:

but neither of them found a solution.

A lot of people suggested using Indian mustard oil, which I had tried myself. But this is not the same thing as mustard essential oil. It has a very weak hint of mustard flavor and almost no mustard nasal burn.

Real mustard essential oil is so pungent and potent that it is sold only in pharmacies in Italy in small quantities. It is a strong irritant to the nasal mucous membranes and the eyes.

WARNING! Brassica nigra - mustard essential oil - is considered to be one of the most toxic of all essential oils; an oral toxin, dermal (skin) toxin, and very irritating to mucous membranes (ex. the membranes inside your nose)


So I had to find a source myself.

I did find one source on Italian eBay:

but it was very expensive--EUR 17,50 for 10 ml! And no shipping outside Italy.

I did finally find a reasonably priced source on USA eBay:

I bought the smallest quantity from the seller 'prizebest9711' to see how good it was. I paid $5.99 for a 5ml bottle ( That might seem expensive but you only need 10-20 drops for a batch of mostarda and it's a lot cheaper than the Italian source. This oil is pure, processed using the steam distillation method, the best non-chemical extraction method, extracted from black mustard seeds (brassica nigra), the most pungent and potent of the mustard family. Before I ordered, I asked the seller if this was the real deal and he assured me it was. He said it was so strong, I should avoid smelling the oil directly, and was so sure I'd like the oil, he said that he would refund the price, no questions asked, If I din't like it.

I got the package from India 8 days after I placed the order. It required a signature and the tiny vial (6ml actually) was packed in so many layers of foam, plastic wrap, and tissue paper in a large box, it took some time to carefully extract the vial using a utility knife. I've never seen such thorough packing from an eBay seller. Other sellers should take lessons from this guy.

As I neared the vial itself, I could smell the strong mustard odor and feel the nasal burn. I was careful not to get my nose too close to the bottle as I opened the screw cap. There was also a hollow plastic plug under the screw cap. I pried that out and dipped the very tip of a toothpick into the oil. I made the mistake of placing the tiny quantity of oil on my tongue. OMG! It burned my tongue, made my eyes tear, and ripped through my nasal passages. Even with the plug in place, the vapors from the screw cap rip through the nasal passages and burn the eyes. It has a very strong mustard flavor and odor. This is the real deal. My search is over. I can't wait to add this to my mostarda. :)



dano.dano October 21, 2021
Thanks for the post

Just an update for 2021- prizebest9711 on eBay is still selling mustard essence, so I placed an order.
LarAl2015 October 21, 2021
Glad to hear it. Thanks.
Theresa M. August 26, 2018
Realizing this was an old post, can you post your recipe and process for the mostarda? Thanks!
LarAl2015 August 27, 2018
From Come preparare la mostarda di mele o frutta | Guide di Cucina


* 1 kg of peeled and pitted fruit
* cherries, stemmed and pitted
* Put the washed and stoned cherries into a saucepan, cover them with water, bring to the boil and cook them for 4 minutes
* Apricots are the trickiest to glace and here are my suggestions:
* Use slightly underripe apricots, they are firmer
* Pop or take the pit out from the top or bottom without splitting the apricot in half
* The intact skin helps keep the apricot whole
* 500 g of sugar
* 1/2 lemon sliced
* 15 drops of mustard essential oil


* Peel the fruit and cover it with the sugar and slices of lemon in a pot and let stand for 24 hours
* Strain the sugar liquid into a pot and boil for 5 minutes
* Pour the hot liquid over the fruit and let stand another 24 hours
* Don't cover until cool--the steam ruins the fruit
* Repeat 3 more times
* Boil the fruit 8-10 minutes and cool for 2 hours
* Mix in 15 drops of mustard essential oil and let stand for 10 hours
* Put in sterile jars and let stand for one month

Rosanna D. May 20, 2018
I am in Italy right now and have a chance to buy the mustard oil in a pharmacy; however, I am concerned about transporting it back to the US in my suitcase... isn't this considered a poison - therefore not allowed? Has anybody taken it back stateside this way?
LarAl2015 May 20, 2018
That's a good question. The reason it is sold in pharmacies is because it is a strong irritant, and I mean STRONG. I think it would be considered a toxic substance by airport security. Better to mail it than have it confiscated and be hassled by security.
Maedl October 18, 2016
You're welcome.
Maedl October 17, 2016
I'm not sure how big the container is--perhaps 75 to 100 ml. It is already packed for travel so I can't check. No, I didn't link to the specific article because I didn't buy it on the web. I went to the shop and bought it in person, which for me is preferable to buying something through ebay or some other website. I want to know where it is coming from.
LarAl2015 October 17, 2016
Yeah, well that's great if you just happen to be in Bologna when you suddenly need this oil. Not so much any other time or place. I happened to be in Bologna last year at this time but it was on a weekend when shops like this were closed and I didn't need any essential oil at the time. I would much rather buy it online than go even 1 mile to but it in person. You can read the label and ask questions online so I see no advantage to buying it in person. I only see disadvantage.
Maedl October 17, 2016
It's a long time since this question was posed, but I found essence of mustard today at Gilberto, Via Drapperie 5, in the old market area of Bologna. It's expensive--38 Euros for a container, that I suspect will last for eternity. The man who sold it to me said I only need a few drops--be careful! I consider myself forewarned! See
LarAl2015 October 17, 2016
OK, well first of all how big was this 'eternal' container? Did you buy it from the US and pay extra for shipping? You didn't link to the actual product and I don't see it anywhere on their site. I just now found on eBay 30ml of steam distilled oil for $16.58--Allin Exporters Mustard Essential Oil Kdfttbpmis | eBay. That's a large quantity that would last a long time in the fridge.
LarAl2015 August 15, 2015

I have made Mostarda several times since obtaining this oil. I had to experiment to get it just right. I noticed that the normal boiling water canning process destroys the flavor and potency of the oil. I settled on simply microwaving the jar of fruit and adding the oil at the end and mixing it in. That preserves the flavor and potency. 5 drops in a pint jar is more than enough. It produces a piquant mustardy flavor similar to wasabi.
Mary S. November 21, 2015
Thanks so much for this post, I also ordered a tiny vial from India (and got the overpackaging treatment!)
I think with all the sugar in the mostarda that a boiling water bath is unnecessary, just boil, add mustard oil and put in sterile jars.
Beth B. June 11, 2017
Just add the oil after the boiling processing ends.
shandy211 July 11, 2015
This is a great post Larry! So glad you were able to finally find a good and reliable source for the mustard essential oil. Can't wait to hear how your Mostarda di Cremona turns out after you make this dish!

Thank you also for posting the good information about the toxicity of this mustard essential oil and how to take care when using it! So important!

Happy cooking!
LarAl2015 July 11, 2015
Thanks Sharon. I thought I'd include the warning since this is potentially dangerous in the wrong hands.
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