|Paprika is a chile pepper family of the genus Capsicum annuum. Hungarian Paprika is the preeminent spice used in Hungarian cooking and in Turkey and Hungary it is often used on on the kitchen table in the same manner that we use pepper. Paprika is the 4th most consumed spice in the world and is a powder made from grinding the pods of various Capsicum annuum chiles. Depending on the variety of chile and how it's processed, the color may range from brown to a bright red and the heat from mild to mildly spicy.
Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted and ground to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat.
Although Paprika is frequently associated with Hungarian cuisine the chiles are native to the Americas and were introduced to the old world by Christopher Columbus on his excursion around the Antillies (the islands of the Caribbean), Central America and southern Mexico in the 15th century. Today paprika is primarily grown in China, Hungary, Peru, Spain, the US and Zimbabwe. Our Hungarian Paprika is grown in Hungary.
Types of Paprika
We carry four different types of paprika and each has it's rightful place in any well stocked kitchen. In addition to Hungarian Paprika we also carry - Smoked Sweet Spanish Paprika which has a full range of sweetness combined with lingering smoky notes, a Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika which has a little bit more heat to them than the sweet variety and a Domestic Paprika from California which has a lighter taste and is used more for coloring than for flavor. You can use any of these paprikas in any recipe that calls for paprika depending on your own tastes.
Hungarian paprika takes seven months from seed planting to harvesting. Hungarian paprika tends to be a bit sweeter than other paprikas due to the country's cool growing season, which retains sugar in the spice. Each growing region's climate also affects the color of the paprika. In the hotter regions of Peru or western China, the sun turns the paprika chiles a darker red.
When and Where to Use
Used for flavor and color, Hungarian Paprika is often found in casseroles, white cheeses, chili, egg dishes, marinades, rubs, salads, stews and it also goes well with most vegetables, pork and rice dishes.
Paprika works well in combination with allspice, caraway, cardamom, garlic, oregano, pepper and turmeric.
Some of our favorite recipes using Hungarian Paprika are Hungarian Pork Stew and Easy Chicken Paprika.
Once heated paprika releases its color and flavor. So when you sprinkle it over colorless dishes it improves the food’s appearance but not its flavor. This is why it is often used as a garnish, not a flavoring. However you can use it as a flavoring by stirring the powder into some oil before adding it to a recipe. You can brush paprika infused oil on beef, fish or poultry.
Hungarian Paprika is not considered hot. These come in at 250 - 500 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). For comaprison bells peppers come in at 0 while jalapenos tip the SHU scale at 3,000 - 8,000 SHU.
It's important to remember when using paprika in sauces that it has a high sugar content and so it burns easily and will leave a bitter taste. Add it only when liquid ingredients are present and add it to the cooking process early so that it doesn't cook over high heat for too long.
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