Zimnica (Winter Food) is an old tradition of Macedonian housewives as they prepare for the winter scarcity of summer vegetables and fruits. Each household makes their own zimnica which is usually stored in the basement and consumed during the winter. The types of food prepared depends on the tastes of the family members. Below are the most common zimnica foods prepared during the months of September and October.
Ajvar is by far the most popular food prepared during the Zimnica period. Ajvar is so widely consumed that it is also considered a national food. Ajvar is made from either only sweet or a mix between sweet and hot red peppers, which are plenty, delicious and all organic for most of the country. Ajvar is a popular student meal as well as it's relatively cheap and all households make their own, so you won't find a student apartment or a house without ajvar in it. It is best consumed heated on a pan with a slice of white cheese and fresh baked bread.
Ljutenica which translates to hot food is prepared also with hot red peppers and mostly tomatoes and is seasoned with other spices such as garlic and basil. Ljutenica is a popular meze and just as the ajvar it goes well with a slice of white cheese and freshly baked bread.
Turshija is a very popular method of preserving and storing different vegetables in a jar and giving them a unique sour taste. Turshija is usually made from pickles, tomatoes, carrots and cauliflower and is used as both a salad and a side dish to a meaty main meal.
Kisela Zelka (Sour Cabbage) or Rasol is another meal prepared during the Zimnica. It is made by carefully letting the cabbage in a barrel filled with water and salt which allows the cabbage to release its natural ingredients. Kisela zelka is often used as meze and is spiced with dried hot red peppers. The natural juice in which the cabbage is kept is also drinkable with a sourly and salty taste and is considered a refreshing and healthy drink.
Sweet Figs is a sweet dessert that is prepared by boiling figs with sweet ingredients that are different in different parts in the country. Sweet Figs are indeed very sweet and are served with the traditional coffee for a snack or as a dessert after meals. Sweet figs are very popular in the southernmost parts of the country for which there is a festival in the city of Gevgelija that takes place every September.