Paprika is a type of spice that is used in a variety of dishes to give the dishes a sweet, hot flavor. This spice is made out of ground chili peppers and bell peppers. The preservation and manufacturing techniques used on the peppers affect how sweet the paprika is. A small amount of sweet paprika can make a big difference in a dish. Also known as pimento pepper and Hungarian pepper, this powder is commonly associated with Hungarian dishes.
Paprika plants (Capiscum annuum spp.) are native to South America. The peppers used to make paprika have been bred to be cultivated in cooler climates. They are annual plants with branching stems. The lower portion of the plant is woody. The flowers of the paprika peppers are white, while the fruit starts off green and then usually turns red, though some varieties turn brown or purple. Only the red-colored paprika is used to make paprika powder.
Paprika has flavor that ranges from slightly warm and sweet to fiery. Some paprika spices are ground into small balls or cone shaped. Paprika is sometimes smoked. This spice mixes well with thyme and red pepper.
Paprika peppers are ripened until they are red. Paprika powder is made from the same red peppers that are used to stuff green olives. Sweet paprika decomposes very quickly and must be kept in an airtight container to preserve it. The paprika should be kept away from sunlight in a cool location.
Some paprikas are becoming more mild as a result of cross-breeding varieties. Cayenne pepper is sometimes mixed into the paprika by spice companies to retain the spiciness, according to the Epicenter. Paprika is used in cheeses, meats, tomato sauces, chili powders and soups. The paprika improves the food’s appearance, but loses flavor if it is simply sprinkled over cooking food. To get flavor from the paprika, the paprika must be mixed into an oil. The high sugar content of paprika causes it to burn quickly, so it should only be added to meals that have a high amount of liquid. Paprika combines well with meats.
Despite having a large quantity of vitamin C, the drying techniques used on paprika usually destroy most of the vitamin C. The capsaicin found in red paprika can also act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which can help reduce the risk of cancer, according to the Research Institute for Production Development.