Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Paprika, also known as sweet pepper or bell pepper, is a red powdered spice obtained from the ripe, dried and ground fruit of sweet pepper or bell pepper (Capsicum annuum, family Solanaceae).

The term also refers to the fruit itself. The spice is used in cooking for its pungent scent and red colour.

The main types of spices are Hungarian paprika, made from fruits only, and royal paprika, made with seeds, stems and fruits. In addition to being widely used in most tropical countries and especially in Asia, it is very present in Maghreb,

Spanish and especially in the case of the Hungarian cuisine, for making goulash.

As Europeans established and cultivated American lands, they discovered the variety of shapes and sizes of these fruits: round, conical, long, twisted, button-shaped, carrot, pear, green , orange, scarlet, yellow, almost white, some very ferocious (the smallest in general), some whose large size was accompanied by great fine and sweet flavors.

The sweetest species (los pimientos, peppers), found their chosen land in Spain.

They are already mentioned in the 17th century botanical treatises.

They are then grown in Castile, not only by the gardeners, but also by the housewives on their balcony.

Central European paprika was hot until the 1920s, when a Szeged breeder found a plant that produced sweet fruit, which he grafted onto other plants. The most common Spanish paprika,

Pimentón de la Vera, has a distinct smoky flavour and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood.

Pimentón de Murcia is not smoked, traditionally being dried in the sun or in kilns

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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