Ajvar is one of those foods that is incredibly popular in some European countries yet so underrated in the United States. If you have not heard of Ajvar check out International Food Markets in Jefferson Rd in Rochester, NY. They have a great selection of Ajvar. Not only can you find different brands of Ajvar, you can also try both sweeter, mild, or hot Ajvar.
So by now, you're probably wondering what exactly is Ajvar. Ajvar is a spread made out of roasted red peppers. It originates from Southeastern Europe and many Balkan countries make jars of Ajvar every year in September.
Let me put it this way. Ajvar to the Balkans is equal to what tomato sauce is to Italians. That should explain clearly. You can't go a winter without Ajvar. If you're a student and you go away to college, you're bringing Ajvar with you.
Growing up in Macedonia, the smell of Ajvar only meant one thing. Summer was coming to an end. Everyone gathered outside of their homes and roasted peppers to make their annual Ajvar. Yes- people would gather outside and make their Ajvar. Families and neighbors all joined together and enjoyed the traditional and long Ajvar making process because trust me, it serves as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
When my family moved to the United States, the tradition continued. Although my parents have their own garden with a great pepper selection, their garden does not have the amount of red peppers that are needed for Ajvar. Instead, they go to a local farm and purchase a few bushels of red peppers. They
The Ajvar Making Process:
By explaining how Ajvar is made, I don't expect you to go out and make it. The reason is because it is way too much work and it will probably cost you more because you need A LOT of red peppers.
- Red peppers are the main ingredient and many people make ajvar of just roasted red peppers.
- Eggplant is a common addition to Ajvar, although not everyone adds it to their recipe.
- Garlic is also added is many recipes.
- Olive Oil and vinegar
1. The red peppers are roasted. Once roasted, the become very soft and their skin is easy to peel.
2. The skin is peeled off and the peppers are places in large cheese cloths so that the extra juices are released from the peppers.
3. The roasted red peppers are then ground and placed in a large chef's saucepan where they will be fried in oil.
Considering the amount of Ajvar that is made, the process can take a whole weekend, depending on how many people are helping.
What is Ajvar paired with?
Traditionally, Ajvar is used as a spread on bread and paired with feta cheese.While that is the most traditional way to eat Ajvar, it can be enjoyed a lot of different way. Some of my favorite ways to eat Ajvar are:
- On crackers,
- Mixed in with scrambled eggs
- with Kifli
- On top of omelettes
I have shared Ajvar with my American friends and so far, I have yet to meet a person that is not a fan of Ajvar. Whenever I go to the International Food Markets store, I always grab a variety so that I can have jars to share. I recommend giving this a try and I am almost positive you will not be disappointed.
Ajar is low in calories so it's a perfect addition to a low calorie diet. The cost of one jar of Ajvar varies depending on brand and size, however, on average, I would say about $5-$6 per jar. My favorite brand that I recommend is MAMA's.
If you have tried Ajvar or are planning on trying it, I love to hear from you. Comment below and let me know your thoughts.