Paprika peppers are probably one of the most well known of the pepper family. Whether as a spice or as a whole pepper, these peppers have found their way into most of the world’s cuisine, and they certainly bring a lot of flavor to the dinner table.
While we use them regularly, what do we really know about the paprika pepper itself? Today, we will find out about paprika peppers, everything about paprika peppers.
History And Origin
As with all variants of pepper and chili pepper, paprika peppers came from the Americas. For this particular pepper, it was brought over from Mexico, where it had been grown and consumed for several hundred years, by the Spanish to Europe.
Being an instant hit on the continent, paprika use slowly gained traction and trade of it became lucrative, with people buying boat loads of the pepper from England to Central Europe and through the Balkan regions to the Ottoman Empire.
It gained particular renown in Hungary, where it became hugely popular in the 19th century and from which the English word for paprika comes from, derived from the Hungarian word ‘paprika’.
From this humble beginning, it has spread all over the world, winding up in places like India and Indonesia.
The paprika chili pepper is a fairly large chili and can grow up to 8 inches in total. It is cone-shaped all the way down and has a very smooth unbroken skin, more like a habanero in texture than a Carolina reaper.
It is also a deep, bright red and this color lends itself to whatever dish the chili is put in, when it is dried and turned into a spice powder this powder turns the entire dish a deep vibrant red, like the chili itself.
Flavor And Preparation
The paprika chili heat range sits at between 250 and 1000 Scoville heat units, which is quite mild for a chili, however what it loses in spice it makes up for in flavor.
Most chilies have a slight tang of flavor before the spice hits, but the paprika pepper is known for its bold, smoky flavor that is very unique.
This flavor has been used to create a range of dishes, like goulash or paprikash, that have become synonymous with the paprika flavor.
In terms of preparation, paprika can be used as a main body of flavor for a dish, as is the case with the prior dishes mentioned, or it can be used for garnish, like with deviled eggs or potato salad.
This can be done with a diced raw chili or with the spice itself. However, paprika does have a powerful flavor, so it’s best to use restraint when putting in a dish, as once it’s in, you can’t take it out.
Paprika peppers hold no secret to their growth or have any particular requirements beyond what other peppers have. As with all peppers, paprika peppers like a warm, sunny climate and well-draining, fertile soil.
If you have those things in your intended planting area, they should grow fine. However, be aware that paprika peppers are susceptible to frost, so a greenhouse might be the best place to grow them in colder climes.
Paprika peppers have a long and storied history in both the New World and the Old World.
They have inspired whole new dishes and flavors beyond imagination, travelled across continents, and they are the perfect pepper and the perfect way to start your foray into the world of spicy food, especially if you are looking for a unique hot sauce flavor.