The word ajvar comes from the word hayvar Turkish for cavier. Very popular all over the Balkans ajvar is prepared in the fall when red peppers and eggplant are in season. Ajvar is time consuming and takes effort to make, but it is all well worth it.
I do not ‘can’ my ajvar, as I have a glass stove top and not able to can with it, plus the whole canning process makes me nervous!
I skip all of this and preserve it by adding to the freezer! If your a canning expert and know all the know hows of canning by all means can it! Its so worth the effort!:)
If you wish you may make this without eggplant, I like it both ways.
You will need:
- 12 large red bell or large sheppard peppers
- 2 Sicilian eggplants (my preference, you can use any small eggplant)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley (optional)
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
- salt to season
- crushed red pepper flakes for added heat, use as desired
Remove stem and seeds from peppers.
Grease baking sheets with olive oil, place peppers on sheet, and bake at 375 or 400 till skin is browned and are tender (takes about 1 hour and 1/2 depending your oven.) You may grill the peppers and eggplant if that is your preference.
When you remove the peppers from oven cover with foil or a lid, let rest for 20 mins. The steam will help with the removal of the skin. Remove seeds if you didn’t already.
Peel or partly peel the eggplant, what ever your preference as its going in the food processor anyhow. Slice eggplant and sprinkle salt over the eggplant, roast on a foiled sheet, at 375 or 400 for 1 hour or until baked.
When peppers and eggplant are cooled down add them to a food processor and add the vinegar, parsley, garlic, a good drizzle of olive oil, and some pepper chili flakes if using, and season with salt. Puree the mixture.
Add the mixture to a pot and bring to a boil on very low heat till the liquid evaporates, stirring often so that it doesn’t burn or get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Cool and spoon in freezer bags for storing, place in freezer, should last 4-6 months.
You can store some of the fresh ajvar in the fridge for 3-5 days. Enjoy:)