Paprika is a fine powder made from especially mild varieties of capsicum peppers. Since the purpose of paprika is to enrich food with a bright red colour and not to make it hot, it can be considered a separate spice. The aroma of paprika tends to be delicate with various types having hints of caramel, fruitiness, or smokiness. Flavours vary from sweetly smoky to more full bodied and pungent with a hint of bitterness.


  • Culinary uses: Paprika is the predominant spice and colouring in Hungarian cooking and they use it generously in their famous goulashes, stews, and chicken dishes. Hungarians have adopted paprika as their national spice, and in Hungary, the Balkan countries, and Turkey it is more usual to find paprika or chilli flakes on the table than black pepper. Paprika is also a common ingredient in Spanish and Portuguese cuisine. It is used in sofrito, the mixture of onions and other ingredients fried in olive oil that forms the basis of many slow-cooked dishes. In Morocco it is widely used in spice blends, and in India its principal use is to add a red colour to dishes. Everywhere it is used as an essential flavouring for sausages and other meat products. Paprika should never be overheated since it becomes bitter.
  • Other uses: Paprika oleoresin (the essential oil extract) with its red pigments is used in chicken feed to give the yolk a richer colour.
  • Botanical name: Capsicum annum, Capsicum frutescens. Family name: Solanacea
  • Native range: Central America, South America, Caribbean Islands
  • Major producers: Spain, Portugal
  • Harvesting: Most capsicum peppers are grown as annuals and harvesting occurs about 3 months after planting. The core and seeds are removed, and then the flesh is dried and powdered. For Spanish paprika (or pimenton), the peppers are dried over oak fires for a smoky flavour.

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