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About Paprika

Wikipedia Article About Paprika on Wikipedia

Paprika, Capsicum annuum, is a sweet-to-mildly hot cultivar of the chile pepper of the family Solanaceae. It is cultivated for its fruit, which are dried and used as a spice or seasoning. C.annuum is a native of South America; however it is cultivated most extensively in Hungary. The English word was borrowed directly from Hungarian, which in turn borrowed the term from the adjacent Slavic peoples, among whom the word has survived since its inception in Proto Indo-European (p+p+r). Modern variations of the word exists in most European languages. The word "paprika" can be used to describe both the fruit and the spice.

Paprika Variations

Besides Spanish paprika used more to color food than to season it, there is Hungarian paprika. Canned paprika called "Szegel" has excellent flavor. Or purchase loose paprika, choosing "sharp" or "medium rose" or a mixture.

Sweet Hungarian paprika

Sweet Hungarian paprika has a full, sweet pepper flavor without the heat. It is a very high quality paprika from the Kalocsa region of Hungary bears the name Csemege, or “Exquisite Delicacy.” It earns a 120 ASTA color rating, and has a reputation as the most flavorful of all paprikas. Hungarian sweet paprika is the paprika of choice for such classic European dishes as goulash, chicken paprikash, stuffed bell peppers. It also makes a flavorful garnish for deviled eggs, potato or pasta salads, baked chicken or fish.

Hungarian Half-Sweet paprika

Also called "Félédes" – This paprika is a blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium pungency.

Hungarian Hot paprika

Hot in Hungarian is "Erős" – This paprika is light brown in color, and not surprisingly, the hottest paprika.

Pimentón, or smoked paprika

In Spain, paprika is known as pimentón, and is quite different in taste; pimentón has a distinct, smokey flavor and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood. Pimentón is a key ingredient in several Spanish sausage products, such as chorizo or sobrasada, as well as much Spanish cooking. Outside of Spain pimentón is often referred to as simply "smoked paprika" and can be found in varying intensities from sweet and mild (dulce), medium hot (agridulce), or very hot and spicy (picante).