Throughout the countryside of the western Balkans, the end of September is the time to make ajvar, vegetable preserves based on peppers, eggplants, onions, chili and garlic. When made properly, they can keep for years. The preparation process is very laborious, involving a long time being cooked in the oven and then a slow cooling phase, which means the seeds and skins can be removed manually. In Leskovac, a city in the heart of Serbia (known for the quality of its meat and particularly a kind of hamburger called pljeskavica), the locals have long made an unusual variant on ajvar using only peppers, oil, vinegar and garlic. Traditionally the preparation of the preserves takes several days and involves all the members of the family. Only a few producers still follow the ancient recipe, but the results are phenomenal and Leskovac ajvar makes an ideal condiment for grilled meat.