A sweet but sassy relative of the chili pepper, paprika is used to add warm, natural color and mildly spicy flavor to soups, stews, grains, and a variety of hors d'ouvres.
Botanical name: Pepper or pimento pepper, the paprika (Capsicum annuum) is larger and much milder than the chili pepper. An herbaceous annual that grows 20 to 60 inches in height, it's sometimes woody on the bottom, with leaves that are dark green on top and lighter underneath. The flowers are white and the fruit starts out green, then turns red, brown, or purple; the red fruit is harvested for paprika.
Domestic paprika has a fresh, green quality, while the Spanish variety is more pungent and the Hungarian is more lively. Spanish and Hungarian paprikas have become more alike, though, as the Hungarian peppers are now bred to taste more like the sweeter Spanish peppers. They still look different, though; Hungarian and domestic peppers are more pointed, while those from Spain are smaller and rounder. Hotter paprikas are now often obtained by adding cayenne to the powder to punch up the heat.
*ETO (ethylene oxide) is a sterilization chemical commonly used in the spice industry, but never by Frontier Co-op.
Directions: Paprika releases its flavor and color when heated. It also burns easily, and once it's brown it starts to become bitter. So take care not to cook it too long (in a frying pan, for example).
Suggested Uses: Fragrantly sweet and colorful, paprika is a great spice to have at hand. Use it to add lovely color and a slightly pungent sweetness to any dish. Try it on cheeses and spreads, hors d'ouvres, salads, egg dishes, marinades and smoked foods. Add it to the flour used for dusting poultry, meats, and seafoods, and include it in salad dressings, where it will both add color and work as an emulsifier (to combine the oil and vinegar). Spanish, Turkish, and Portuguese soups, stews, and casseroles rely on paprika, as does Indian tandoori chicken. Paprika is traditionally used in Hungarian goulash, paprikash, processed meats and spiced sausages. And you'll find it in chili powder blends.