The best Bulgarian childhood memories are linked with the delicious homemade jam, lutenica, and starters which are a must at their table. The canned food for the winter, prepared by traditional old recipes, is a compulsory item in each kitchen cupboard or cellar. There’s nothing more tasty than adding some sunlight exposed fresh peppers and tomatoes to your meal, which preserved the unique charm of garden vegetables, even after they have been processed. Ground into big pieces, the tastes are irresistible temptation as a side dish or with a sandwich.
Nowadays most people try and find a job or career in the big cities which automatically puts a barrier to the growing and preserving of food. The intense daily routine excludes the opportunity of preparing our favourite products by ourselves. You can hardly notice the scene of a lighted fire in the free areas between the buildings in order to cook vegetables and boil some jars on them. There is no need for such extremity, but we can’t just give up on the idea of having them with our meals. We are benefited with the fact that some manufacturers and entrepreneurs have kept the local rituals, so that we can touch and feel them again and again, without being involved with agricultural activities.
The convenience for the modern housewife
These days, practically, it is possible for us to find all kinds of preserved food, not only at the shelf in the supermarket but at a place even more reachable – the online shopping space. Depriving ourselves of them is not necessary, because the process of canning secures our access to the food any time of the year, without being afraid of the periods of growing, ageing, and production. The irreplaceable conserved food is not only a delicious add-on to your meal, but it also could be the main ingredient of the dish, while the busy housewife doesn’t have to lose precious time for processing and cooking the separate materials.
One of the most beloved products of both children and adults is the ljutenica. Ground in big parts or delicately, it gets a constant place at the Bulgarian past. What are the homemade meatballs without the ljutenica as a side dish? Why should we put ketchup in our hamburger or sandwich, when we could enjoy a way more rich and fancy flavour.
How to recognize the product of top quality?
There are just a few companies that produce ljutenica in accordance with the Bulgarian requirements for the standard. It was legitimated not long ago, ingredients as mashed pumpkins, preservatives, apples, potatoes, etc., which serve to substitute the necessary true vegetables for creating the valuable product, to be excluded from the recipes. Nowadays, only high-quality ingredients are used, which are beneficial to everyone’s health.
Closing the cycle of making food with homegrown ingredients is the issue of imported vegetables and other ingredients. The import of some ingredients necessary for making the ljutenica sauce, is a frequent occurrence. People prefer quality ingredients, but they happen to raise the final price. In any case, we should know, what we put at our tables and share it with our families, even if it costs more.
Every busy man’s dream is to have constant access to conserved food, whose handling and consumption are easy and fast. But, if you are actually tempted by the idea of preparing ljutenica at home and you have the time and desire to get sweaty near the kitchen pan, here are the most important things you need to know:
The most significant part is finding some red peppers. Somewhere between 8 and 10 kilograms of peppers should be enough, but the bigger part of this quantity definitely must be red. The other necessary materials are nearly 3 kilograms of red tomatoes, 2 pieces of eggplant and a kilogram of carrots. While the carrots should be boiled, the eggplant has to be scalloped in one piece. Afterwards, you peel and clean the peppers. The next you need to do is to mix them with the carrots and the eggplant and mash all of this. Right after this, you add the tomatoes too, but only if they are already thick enough thanks to the boiling. You could use some parsley and other spices according to your taste – cooking oil, vinegar, salt, and sugar. You will know when the lutenica is ready by its density. After you stir it there shouldn’t be any liquid parts left. Pouring all of this into jars and conserving it is the final step.
After the description of the process, you probably consider it is very hard work to execute it. The heat near the oven is definitely not suitable for the hot summer days. Why you have to spare hours and days in a row of handling and preparation when companies that treat the process with care and quality inspections exist? The only thing you need to do is to buy a jar of this delicious lutenica sauce. It is so comfortable to have everything necessary for a quick dish full of flavour and delicious vegetables. And the good thing is that it doesn’t mean you are going to spend hours and days in the kitchen!
The article is kindly provided by Serdika Foods – Lutenica & Ajvar