Sweet Pepper and Allspice Spread

Have you ever tried to deconstruct a dish and create a different texture with the same ingredients? I bet that if the result is satisfactory, you will feel like a professional chef, a magician or you will simply be very proud of your boldness. At least I was when, after mixing and thickening the Pickled Sweet Peppers (see the recipe here), I obtained a highly palatable sweet pepper spread.

I don’t remember how I got this crazy idea, but since the necessity is the mother of invention, I probably had too many peppers and not enough jars to pickle them… I remember I had also been looking for a smoother and less fiery alternative to the hot pepper jellies I make every year. I reduced the liquids, mixed everything, thickened with powdered pectin and, I don’t want to boast, but the result went beyond my expectations. Needless to say, I decided to double or triple the amount of preserved jars this year.

I prepare this spread with Hungarian kapia pepper (red and long), but of course bell peppers and other sweet peppers will also work perfectly well. The more aromatic and ripe the pepper, the better the taste will be. Thanks to the vinegar the colour stays vivid red even after a year spent in the pantry.

I use this spread on toasts, in sandwiches (instead of butter or mayonnaise), with grilled meat, with roast pork, on tarts and in crunchy rolls (see the recipe here). The possibilities are infinite.

Preparation: 2 hours + hot bath processing


1 kg sweet peppers

400 ml 4,5% vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

450 ml water

170g sugar

2 tablespoons salt

12 allspice grains

1 teaspoon black pepper in grains

1 tablespoon mustard grains

2 small bay leaves or 1 big

8 garlic cloves

60 g powdered pectin

Wash the peppers, core them and remove the stems.

Cut them roughly in four or six pieces.

Combine all the ingredients apart from the red peppers.

Bring them to boil. Throw the peppers into the pan and let everything simmer for 20 minutes.

Put aside for one hour.

Mix everything in a blender. Put back into the pan, add the pectin and bring to boil, constantly stirring.

Let it boil at medium heat for 10-15 minutes.

/At this point you can (after the spread has cooled down) either freeze it or keep it in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or process it in the jars, as described below, and store it in your pantry for at least a year!/

Pour the spread, still hot, into sterilised jars. Cover with lids. Leave the jars to cool.

Place the cool jars into a big pan, bottom lined with an old kitchen towel folded in two (this will prevent the jars from breaking), cover up with hot – but not boiling- water to the level just below the lid. Bring to boil and keep on a very low heat, in simmering water, for around 20 minutes.
Stick on self-adhesive labels, write the name of the spread and don’t forget to mark the date.

NOTE: For the readers who live in the USA, the USDA-approved canning method is different. You can find it described here: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/publications/uga/using_bw_canners.html.

Sweet Pepper and Allspice Spread on Punk Domestics

26 Replies to “Sweet Pepper and Allspice Spread”

  1. This sounds really really good. I love ajvar from Balkans. Its made from roasted peppers and a great spread. Your version is slightly different but perhaps equally or more delicious. I really need to spend more time in the kitchen trying some of these

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies! I also like ajvar, but -at least the one I buy in shops – has a much less peppery taste (I think they also put tomatoes inside).

  2. Sissi, I was discussing cooking with my Mom yesterday and your name came up, I was telling her how talented you are at making preserves and how this is something that’s completely new and exotic to me, then she pulled out a huge jar of preserved daikon to show off, Haha!

    1. Jeno, you cannot imagine how flattered I am to know you talked about me in this way to your mum (who seems an extraordinary cook! I still remember the number of meals she prepares for you on the weekend and the yummy dumplings you keep frozen!).
      I would have loved to see your reaction when your mum showed your the jar 😉 By the way, I am not as talented as you might think, since the only time I tried pickling daikon (in the way I pickle peppers) the result was awful! It smelled awful and the taste was… well I have no words. I just had to throw it away. I am very curious about your mum’s recipe! Thank you for this heartwarming message!

      1. Sissi, honestly daikon smells awful no matter what! My Mom sent me home with a small glass jar, I plan on eating them when I am the only person in the house, because the strong odor is not something my family can endure… Mom told me she used salt, peppercorn and rice wine, no vinegar is needed since daikon would produce vinegar in the preserving process. The end product is pretty salty, so I can only eat a small portion at a time. I will let her know you’ve paid her many compliments, she will be so gitty and turn red like a tomato!

  3. Hi Sissi! You are so creative. After making preserves, you still come up with something new with it. Amazing! I’d love this spread on the toasted bread. I love sweet bell peppers and looks a lot easier to eat when it’s spread (to gain the same flavor). Yummy!

    1. Thank you, Nami! You are right, the spread is much more delicate than raw or cooked peppers. Maybe it’s the sugar and vinegar combination… I wish I could make you taste it 🙂

  4. Sissi – you are amazingly talented…you are so brilliant with your brilliant ideas of preserves. You must start piutting this together into a book …. a lot of people will benefit…all those who love to preserve but don’t spend time on the internet….really, now this one looks amazing…you are like a scientist…Jenny and I always used to say (infact, still do) that baking is a mix of science and creativity and when I see (well virtually!) all the experiments you carry out in your kitchen, it just makes me go ‘wow’. well done to you….think about getting it all together in a book…..

    1. Shilpa, you are adorable! What can I answer to such a heartwarming message? I am so flattered and honoured you might see me in such a positive light… I cannot stop smiling since I read your kind words. I don’t know what to say, I lack words in English… You have made not only my day, but at least the whole week 🙂 Your are so sweet, but of course you largely overestimate me! I like experimenting with preserves, but I can assure you the most difficult to experiment are the baked recipes and this is why I am in awe every time I go to your blog. I would have never dreamed of writing any book! There are so many much more skilled people on the web! Thank you once more for encouraging words. I will certainly remember them every day and make my best to be disciplined and more creative in my kitchen!

  5. Hi- I’ve just discovered your blog and have had the loveliest time digging through the archives this morning (when I should be doing lots of other things- oops). There’s a fantastic chorizo roll stand in London, near where I live, it uses spanish piquillo peppers- but I think this relish would take it to a whole other level. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Tori! Thank you for your kind comment and welcome to my blog! I am very happy you like my pepper spread, although I would happily exchange a jar of it for a nice chorizo roll with Spanish piquillos 🙂

  6. When you say “spread”, is it thick? It looks like a delicious ketchup! So flavoursome and awesome. I have a feeling it will be a bit like sriracha maybe? (with all the addictive qualities that it has too! (I could just eat it with a spoon))!

    1. Charles, I don’t know why I made it look liquid… Yes, it is a spread, so it has rather a pesto consistency or even thicker. Sriracha is different: it is hot (this spread is not) and this one has a rather a European mixture of spices (allspice, pepper, garlic, bay leaves). I hope you are having great holidays in England!

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