Taste of winter
combined in Ajvar
September is usually the time when people are preparing traditional Serbian specialities for the winter. It is the time when you can smell scient of roasted paprika and try homemade traditional tasty Serbian Ajvar. One of the most famous and recognized Ajvar is from Leskovac.
The word Ajvar originally comes from the Turkish word havyar, which meaning is referred to “salted, caviar”, word caviar is coming from the Persian word xaviar. Production of Caviar started prior to the 20th century on the coast of Danube.
The ajvar is made of roasted, minced, and then fried peppers. Some housewives make Ajvar mixed with tomato and eggplant, but the most delicious is the one that is made only from red peppers. How to make good Ajvar is always a tricky question, the following tips will help you how to make perfect Ajvar.
Choose red pepper, spike, or elephant ear, which is the meatiest. Let it be straight, not bumpy, and crooked, it will be easier for you to bake. It is best to buy peppers from a reputable seller, at green or quantum markets.
Check each pepper you prepare well. The peppers must be ripe, not greenish, because only then the peppers have their full sweetness and real taste.
Buy paprika without stains, spoiled parts, which has not started to decay or harden. If you are already choosing a pepper that spoils a bit or has stains, cleans it well. Otherwise, ajvar can quickly perish, ie. sour, and then all effort is in vain.
Bake on wood
Nothing can replace "Smederevac" or other wood stove when it comes to preparing ajvar. Paprika roasted on wood got a special taste, which further intensifies the taste of "Serbian caviar". Burn dry wood or shapurine. It is slower than gas or electricity but guarantees the best taste.
Let the paprika stand for a while, then peel and grind.
It is best to put hot, freshly baked peppers in a plastic bag. Let it stand in the bag, so that it is well steamed, because after that it is easier to peel it. Also, all the excess water will remain at the bottom due to the condensation process, and that will only speed up the cooking to some extent.
When peeling, take care to remove all the excess - all the black, baked parts and seeds. It can happen that some seeds have started to spoil a bit, so it is better to eliminate them so that the ajvar does not spoil. Grind the roasted and drained paprika in an ordinary meat grinder.
Fry the ajvar over a low heat for a long time. Preparing the best ajvar requires a lot of work. So don’t give up on the preultimate step.
Before you put the ground paprika in the pot, let it boil a few ingredients over a low heat - oil, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and salt (the amount depends on the taste). When you see that it has started to simmer, add the ground paprika, and get ready for long cooking. Stir constantly, do not let it burn a little, the taste changes immediately.
(Sugar has the role of a natural preservative, so you don't have to add other chemicals).
How do you know that the ajvar is ready - place the mixing spoon on the bottom of the pot and roll it a few times. If you see the bottom of the pot on that occasion, the water has evaporated, the ajvar is cooked and ready for the jars.
Jars and lids must be well washed and dried. Pour hot ajvar into jars and close immediately. In that way, a vacuum will be created, which provides a kind of fast pasteurization.
Ajvar prepared in this way will last a long time, it will not spoil even until next fall. However, when you open jar, you will have to eat it in a few days (because it doesn’t have unhealthy chemicals to keep it from spoiling). Believe us, this won’t be a problem.