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21 Sep 2013

Emily from Canada, Colm from England and Davor and Ajvar from Serbia

Ajvar is a Serbian roasted eggplant-sweet-pepper mixture, sometimes referred to as vegetarian caviar. It can be mashed or left chunky, depending on personal taste, and served as a relish, vegetable or spread on country-style white bread likepogacha as an appetizer. Its smoky flavor is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.
You can vary this recipe by adding chopped hot red chiles and onion, and substituting red wine or red wine vinegar for the lemon juice. Bulgarian kiopooluis similar but it uses green peppers instead of red and tomatoes are added.
Makes 6 servings of Ajvar

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


  • 2 large eggplants, about 3 pounds
  • 6 large red bell peppers
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Place washed eggplants and peppers on a baking sheet with a lip to catch any juices, and roast until their skins blister and turn black, about 30 minutes.
  2. Place roasted vegetables in a heatproof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let them steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Peel off and discard blackened skins, stems and seeds. In a large bowl, mash or chop vegetables, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your ajvar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic and lemon juice, and drizzle in oil, stirring constantly.
  4. Transfer to a glass dish and sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired. Store covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Colm and Emily


Pickled Whole Beets
Recipe Type: BeetsPickles
Yields: serves many

3 pounds fresh small whole beets (use similar size beets)*
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
* Small beets can be pickled whole. Larger beets can be sliced in 1/4-inch slices or diced.

To cook fresh beets:

Fresh BeetsUse tender, freshly picked beets - wash, rinse and drain until all traces of garden soil are removed. Use a small vegetable brush if needed. Cut off leaves and stems, leaving about 1 inch of the root end.
Please don't throw away those fresh beet greens when cooking fresh beets. Cook the beet greens and enjoy a delicious and nutritious dish just like your grandparents grew up with. Learn Beet How To Cook Fresh Beet Greens.
Place beets in large heavy pan and cover with water. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
Let beets cool until you can safely handle them. Once cooled, you can peel them; the skin of a cooked beet will slip right off. (However, it's wise to use a paper towel or wear gloves to keep the beet juice from staining your hands.) Then either leave whole or cut the beets in slices.

To make pickling brine:

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, whole allspice, whole cloves, and cinnamon; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar melts. Reduce heat and let the pickling brine simmer approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain spices out of the liquid (optional). NOTE: Some people like to keep the spices in the liquid.

Canning the beets:
Have clean pint-sized sterilized canning jars ready to use. Prepare two-piece lids and rings according to instructions on lid box.
Pack peeled and trimmed trimmed beets into the hot canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Carefully pour hot pickling brine into each jar, covering beets, and allowing 1/4-inch headspace. Run a thin spatula through jars to remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel. Add caps and bands. Place filled jars on a rack in a water bath canner. The tops of the jars should be covered with 1-inch of water. Process for 30 minutes in boiling water canner. Begin timing as soon as the water begins to boil.
Store jars in a cool, dark place and let set for 6-8 weeks before opening. Consume within 8 months.

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