5 Ingredients or Fewer

Mosto Cotto (Grape Must Syrup)

October  2, 2016
2 Ratings
Photo by Emiko
  • Makes one jar
Author Notes

A one-ingredient, versatile Italian condiment that only gets better with age. Also known as sapa, saba or vincotto, you can use it for everything from a sugar or honey substitute to a cocktail ingredient. It's also wonderful on a cheese plate or used as part of a sauce or dressing for roast meats or salad. You can also make it with fruit other grapes—most traditionally, it's done with wine grapes, but figs (see my recipe for fig honey) or prickly pears are use, too. It's usually made with grape must (grapes pressed for the initial stages of fermentation as the first stage of wine making), but as that can be tricky to come by for some people, the recipe below is made with fresh grapes that you press yourself. Try, if you can, to age this—in Abruzzo, for example, it's often aged for 24 months. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 4 pounds grapes (best kind would be wine grapes of any variety, or concords, alternative fruits are figs or prickly pears)
  1. Wash the fresh grapes and pull them off the stems. Press the grapes to extract their juice (a food mill or juicer is handy here), otherwise simply do this by hand. Pour the juice through a fine mesh sieve or muslin cloth to remove the seeds and skin, then place in a saucepan and boil juice very gently and slowly until the juices reduces by about a third of the original volume and is thick like syrup. (As it cools, it will thicken further, so be careful not to go too far.)
  2. Bottle the syrup in sterilized jars and keep for as long as you can before using it (some age it for 24 months), although it will be hard to resist.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Heather May Hope Jordan
    Heather May Hope Jordan
  • Emiko
  • PHIL

5 Reviews

Heather M. October 12, 2016
When placing the syrup into a sterilized jar, should I continue the canning process by placing the jar into a boiling water bath, straight into the refrigerator, or is it immediately ready to be placed on the shelf? Thank you!
Emiko October 12, 2016
The water bath is usually to seal the jar (and I believe it depends on what kind of jar you are using, some styles may need to have the water bath to seal properly). But in general, if you're putting bubbling hot syrup into sterilised jars, there's no need to do the water bath too -- as it cools, it will seal by itself. If the contents are cold then you should do the water bath to vacuum seal the lid. If you've got those lids that you can press down to check whether they are sealed or not, this works great as you can be confident it sealed properly!
PHIL October 7, 2016
Hi Emiko, do the jars have to be sterilized or can it just be refrigerated? Can this be frozen?
Emiko October 8, 2016
It depends how long you want to keep it for. If you are going to try to age it for months (years!) then yes, you should sterilise them. If the mosto is going to be used right away, you can refrigerate it; it lasts well like this too though more like a couple of weeks rather than a couple of years.
PHIL October 8, 2016
Great thanks, I was thinking of making it so I have it for thanksgiving