Paprika

Paprika (Capsicum annuum)

Paprika is a fine spice powder made from the dried capsicum fruit. There is no single paprika pepper, as it is made from a number of different red capsicums. Paprika is often smoked, giving it a unique, earthy flavor

Flavor

Paprika’s flavor varieties depending on where the plant originated and whether it also contains ground seeds, stalks and veins. Some can be mild, sweet and smoky, while others are hot and full-bodied with a hint of bitterness. Paprika should never by overheated as it can become too bitter.

Aroma

Like its flavor, the aroma of paprika can vary. It can range from restrained and delicate with caramel notes to smoky and heated.

Pairing

Paprika is an essential spice in Hungarian cuisine however it is also widely used in Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Indian and Moroccan cooking. It is used in goulash, sausages, tagines, stews, omelettes, stews and curries. Paprika pairs well with beef, veal, cheese, potatoes, chicken, vegetables, pork, onion, olive oil, sour cream, yogurt and rice and can combine with allspice, caraway, cardamom, garlic, rosemary, saffron, turmeric and parsley.

Growing

Ripe fruits are picked from capsicum plants and dried. The fruit is then de-stalked and the seeds and veins are separated with the seeds and the flesh ground separately and blended accordingly depending on the type of paprika being made.

History

Capsicums are native to the Americas and was introduced into Spain, Turkey and Hungry from the 14th century. It was the Spanish who first dried and ground the peppers to make paprika. Paprika was originally thought to be a peasant’s spice however in the 19th century it was finally considered to be suitable for ‘sophisticated stomachs’.

Medicinal

Paprika is packed with antioxidants, vitamins (particularly vitamin A), iron, beta-carotene and anti-bacteria properties. It is claimed to help promote healthy skin, reduce the occurrence of wrinkles, prevent hair loss, lower blood pressure, assist digestion and treat skin problems like acne.

Facts about Paprika

Paprika can be used with henna to make a reddish hair dye.