Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)


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History/Region of Origin:
Paprika, as a member of the capsicum family, is indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. The pepper is grown widely and takes on a slightly different flavor depending on local soil and climatic conditions.

Geographical Sources:
The peppers used in Paprika are grown in Hungary, Spain, South America, and California.
General Description:
Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried sweet red bell peppers (Capsicum annuum). In many European countries the name paprika also refers to bell peppers generally. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add colour and flavour to dishes.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word comes from the Hungarian “paprika”, which derives from the Serbian “paprika”, which is a diminutive of “papar”, which in turn was derived from the Latin “piper”, for “pepper.”


Paprika is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world. Paprika (pimentón in Spain, colorau in Portugal, chiltoma in Nicaragua, but these “paprikas” are not made exclusively from bell peppers, other varieties are used, and there are several hot and sweet “paprikas”) is principally used to season and colour rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash. In Spain, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey and Portugal, paprika is also used in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. Paprika may be smoked for additional flavour.

Paprika is a spice which comes from a mild red pepper in the family Capsicum annum. It is a brilliant red powder and often used as a garnish.

In India, a similar powdered spice comes from a fruit locally called ‘deghi mirchi’, which is grown widely and takes on a slightly different flavour depending on local soil and climatic conditions. The hottest paprikas are not the bright red ones, but rather the palest red and light brown coloured ones.
Sorts of Hungarian paprika (in brackets the Hungarian name):

Traditional Ethnic Uses:
Paprika is the main flavor in Hungarian cooking, including dishes such as Goulash and Chicken Paprikash. In the United States, it is often used as a garnish on stuffed eggs, fish, and cheese and vegetable casseroles. Spanish Paprika flavors shellfish, rice, and sausage dishes. In Morocco, Paprika is used in tomato dishes and salads.
Taste and Aroma:
Paprika ranges from sweet and mild to hot. American Paprika is the blandest, while Hungarian Paprika has the greatest range of flavor.

Paprika is useful as a simple garnish for almost any savory dish. Combine it with butter, margarine, or oil for a quick baste for fish or poultry. This is especially good on roast turkey. Paprika can be mixed with bread crumbs before sprinkling them over casseroles or vegetables.

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