preserving peppers

Green and red peppers provide a powerhouse of nutrients and top the charts with Vitamin A and Vitamin C.  According to Worlds Healthiest Foods, peppers are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. Peppers also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Red peppers contain lycopene and lutein.  Lutein has been found to protect against macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in the elderly. (Something Grandpa Bauman suffers from)  Besides the amazing amount of nutrients that peppers contain they also are a beautiful vegetable to grow!  Beautifully shaped in bright shades of red, orange, green, purple and yellow makes for a beautiful display in the garden. (For more information on the nutrients and health benefits found in peppers, please visit theWorld’s Healthiest Foods.)

Below are some recipes for preserving peppers.

Ajvar

ajvar
Ajvar is a Croation relish.  People from Croatia including Bosnia preserve red peppers by making huge batches of Ajvar each fall.  I first ran into Ajvar at our local Bosnian bakery a block away from my home.  It was love at first bite!  Ajvar is a delicious blend of red peppers, eggplant, onion, garlic, and if you like it, hot chili pepper.  The ingredients are cooked down leaving a earthy, roasted deep flavor that tastes wonderful smothered on white crusty bread!  I specifically planted 12 red pepper plants in hopes of making a large batch of Ajvar.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the harvest I was looking for and settled for a pint!  After scouring the internet for a recipe I found a lovely blog on Croatian food called Mogwai Soup.  Daniela has amazing recipes and photos.  I took her recipe for Ajvar and followed it step by step and ended up tasting perfect!  Typically Ajvar is a bright red color and from my photo you can tell that mine is not.  I added a bit too much eggplant.  It still tasted wonderful!
Ajvar as shared by Daniela from Mogwai Soup
Ingredients:
  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 small to medium eggplant
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tsp of crushed black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic

Method:

  1. Wash your peppers eggplant and dry and well. Peel the onion and cut in half. 
  2. Roast on 450 in the oven or outside on the grill until you have nice black marks on your veggies. You have to blacken them good so it’s easier to peel them. When you take them out of the oven or of the grill, put them in a plastic bag and let them stand like that for at least five minutes. (Onions don’t have to be blackened or put into the bag).
  3. Remove the skin from peppers and eggplant and cut them into one inch pieces. Do the same with the onion. Mince the garlic and the jalapeno.
  4. Put all of the vegetables and salt and pepper into a pot on your stove top on medium heat, add the 1/2 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar and cook for at least two hours steering frequently. Carefully (it’s HOT!!!) blend your ajvar and return it to the pot for just a few more minutes.
  5. While your ajvar is cooking, you can prepare your jars for canning. Wash them thoroughly and then put into the oven on 170 for about half an hour. Once ajvar is ready to be canned, heat 1 tbsp of oil on the stove top. Pour ajvar into the jar and return to the oven on 350 for a few minutes so it forms a thin crust on the top, then pour oil over it, just enough to cover the top. It should make sizzling sound when it touches ajvar. Put the top on and you are done! You can keep it like this for at least three months.

Freezing Peppers

peppers to freeze

One of the best things about freezing peppers is that they do not need to be blanched before frozen!

Method:

  1. Wash
  2. Dry
  3. Slice in strips for fajitas, in half for stews or leave whole for stuffing.

    peppers sliced to freeze

    peppers halved to freeze

  4. Package into freezer safe bags or containers.
  5. Freeze


25 Responses to Preserving Peppers

  1. Arabic Bites says:

    This is the first time I hear about Ajvar … look like a recipe my family with love with homemade bread… will definitely give it a try …

  2. Jen@TinyUrbanKitchen says:

    I have never tried freezing peppers – thanks for the tip! That
    ajvar looks yummy, but looks like a lot of work!

    Yes! I am going to the Foodbuzz conference. If you are able to go, I would also love to meet you,. :)

  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Ajvar sounds delicious!

    And thanks for the idea to freeze peppers; I had never thought of it…

  4. Miriam says:

    I've copied the ajvar recipe, had never heard of it! Sounds heavenly.

  5. Claudia Medeiros says:

    Great recipes ! Thanks for sharing :)
    I always tried to find a way to preserve peppers and finally I found the right one !
    Thanks :) :) :)
    Have a wonderful Sunday !

  6. maybelle's mom says:

    ajvar sounds a little like the work achar–which is Indian pickle. Indian pickled peppers, with spices, pepper and mustard oil, is delicious.

  7. CinnamonQuill says:

    Brilliant! I'll have to buy the ingredients from the grocery store, now that the farmer's market is done for the season (*Sniffle*), but I don't see how I can survive any longer without tasting this most-compelling ajvar! And, a great tip about freezing peppers; I didn't realize that they didn't need to be cooked/blanched prior to freezing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, but I must correct you- “Ajvar “ is autochthon product of Serbia and it doesn’t look nothing like this one shown in photo. As a brand it is used by many surrounding countries (like Croatia) but your recipe is quite wrong – onion, garlic or pepper is not used for its preparation. ”Paprika” is main ingredient and it is massively produced in the South of the country (and this is not Turkish relish either because as Mongolian tribe they pick up traditions they conquered, in past). Also eggplant is one of the key ingredients. That she got right.

  9. Diana Bauman says:

    Thank you so much for your comments everyone!

    Maybelle, Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, I'm excited to hear more about achar!

    Cinnamon Quill – Thanks for stopping by, I'm heading your way ;)

    Anonymous, thank you so much for stopping by. I'm wondering if there are different versions of ajvar. At the Bosnian store, their brand also includes red peppers as their main ingredient. Very interesting. Where are you from? Please feel free to share your recipe for ajvar! I would love to hear it and try it out!! Thanks again :)

  10. Cookin' Canuck says:

    Wow, that ajvar looks amazing! I'm looking forward to trying it.

  11. Chow and Chatter says:

    oh this looks great I love this stuff like the nutrition info lol

    Rebecca RD

  12. Jessie says:

    excellent post! I freeze my fresh veggies as well and they last a really long time

  13. Vegetable Matter says:

    Great way to preserve eggplant as a spread. Thanks!

  14. Fresh Local and Best says:

    Wow, I learned so much from this post! I didn't know that you can simply freeze chili peppers, and I'll have to try to make or buy a jar of Ajvar, you've peaked my curiosity!

  15. Tasty Eats At Home says:

    Wow, I've never had this, but it sounds yummy! And I'll have to remember that I can simply freeze peppers – thanks!

  16. Simply Life says:

    Oh wow, I've never thought about freezing peppers but it makes perfect sense! thanks!

  17. Erica says:

    Thank you Diana! Great tip as usual:)

  18. Miranda says:

    I am assuming you received a lot of peppers this year in the garden.

    This is beautiful. I would love to try to make this.

    I also have another question, Do you know a good brine in canning banana peppers?

    Thanks Diana!

  19. Divina Pe says:

    Wonderful. I have to try this one. Thanks Diana.

  20. My Little Space says:

    What an interesting post! I went shopping the other day and saw this kind of pepper and wow…really expensive over here.

  21. Table Talk says:

    I love Ajvar with toasted pita chips sprinkled with zataar (middle eastern spice). —I definitely like it spicy; thanks for sharing with us!

  22. Amber says:

    Great info, I bought a jar of ajvar a while back and loved it but had no idea where it came from. The one I had was red pepper based as well. I like the color in your photo. It looks thicker than the one I tried.

    Cheers!

  23. Hummingbird Appetite says:

    Hmmm. I definitely want to make this!

  24. Lynn Brown says:

    I think your ajvar looks wonderful quite red to me,we just found some made so we could try it at whole foods.I so cant wait to try this next year,my sister and I just did your roasted red pepper in jars with vinegar and oil we got about 6 jars.We so love your page.she has made the stuffed tex mex red pappers and loved them she saved some out to make again..Thanks for the wonderful recipes Lynn and Polly

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