|Paprika is a chile pepper family of the genus Capsicum annuum. 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.
Paprika is the 4th most consumed spice in the world and is a powder made from grinding the pods of various Capsicum annuum chiles. Used for flavor and color it is often found in chili, marinades, rubs, stews and spice mixes. 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 spicy. We carry four different types of paprika and each has it's rightful place in any well stocked kitchen.
Hungarain 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.
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.
We also carry several other paprikas - 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 and a Domestic Paprika from California which has a lighter taste and is 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 is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat.
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 used it as a flavoring by stirring the powder into some oil before adding it to a recipe. You can brush paprika on beef, fish or poultry. 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.
Use paprika with white cheeses, egg dishes, salads, marinades, stews, casseroles 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.
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