As the bountiful garden harvest comes to a close, canning all these delicious vegetables is a great way to make good use of every last bit of summer’s gifts. Even though I don’t have a garden of my own, I scour the local farmer’s markets for good deals. Every canning season doesn’t seem complete to me without making a batch of my Mom’s Adzhika.
Adzhika is kind of like a salsa, made with peppers, tomatoes, carrots and a few other ingredients that together make a wonderful combination of flavors. It’s usually served as a side dish, condiment and is often used to flavor other dishes. Since I don’t have any Georgian heritage in me and don’t really have any acquaintances from that particular region of the former Soviet Union, I’m pretty sure this is not an authentic recipe. This version is my Mom’s recipe, and her side of the family goes back to Belarus as far back as we know. This is the way other native Belarusians that we know prepare it too and we love it. I can’t vouch for authenticity like I said, but I can certainly guarantee that it tastes great!
It has a salsa like consistency, you can make it as spicy and hot as you like by adding more or less hot peppers. I like mine mild, so I keep the heat level pretty tame. With the addition of carrots, tomatoes, and apples, this pepper salsa is a perfect combination of flavors – peppery, acidic, slightly sweet and very balanced. Serve it alongside shishkebabs, chicken, fish as well as to flavor soups, stews, casseroles and on top of burritos.
2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 lb bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lb apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
1-2 hot peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 garlic head, peeled and minced
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup salt
1/3 cup oil (sunflower, canola, grapeseed, avocado etc.)
Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
Use a meat grinder or a food processor to finely chop all ingredients into a salsa-like consistency. If you’re using a meat grinder, you can cut the veggies into bigger chunks. I like to use the food processor, so I cut it this way so that the consistency would be the same. Place in a big stockpot or a heavy bottomed dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour. The vegetables will soften and the mixture will become more liquidy.
Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, oil and garlic. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Distribute the Adzhika into clear jars and close with lids. I usually make just one batch and keep it in the refrigerator. However, if you are making a large amount, make sure to sterilize your jars and lids before adding the adzhika. Then place the jars inside a large pot filled with water and boil for 10-15 minutes. Turn the jars upside down and cover with a towel.
- 2½ lbs tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 lb apples, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1-2 hot peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic head, peeled and minced
- ½ cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅛ cup salt
- ⅓ cup oil (sunflower, canola, grapeseed, avocado etc.)
- Coarsely chop the tomatoes, peppers, carrots, and apples.
- Grind in a meat grinder or use your food processor until it has a salsa-like consistency.
- Place in a big stockpot or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and cook, simmering and covered for an hour.
- Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic. Cook for another 15 - 20 minutes.
- Distribute the adzhika into clear jars and close with lids.