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

Diana is a mother of three, proud wife, and humbled daughter of God. She finds the most joy meeting with Jesus in her organic gardens. She is completely blessed to be able to call herself a stay at home mom where she home educates her children, joyfully serves her husband, and cooks nourishing, real food, for her family. She loves connecting with people on facebook, google+, pinterest, and instagram.

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