Paprika is a spice made from the grinding of dried fruits of Capsicum annuum (eg. bell peppers or chili peppers). Paprika is said to be derived from the Hungarian ‘paprika’, meaning pepper (Capsicum). Although paprika is now recognized and produced globally it was first created in Spain and Hungary. Spanish Paprika (Pimentón) is available in three versions, mild (Pimentón Dulce), moderately spicy (Pimentón Agridulce), and very spicy (Pimentón Picante.) Some Spanish paprika, including Pimentón de la Vera has a distinct smokey flavor and aroma as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood.
Paprika is found in most supermarkets around the world. The chili spice is used in many cuisines to add color and flavor to dishes. Paprika can range from mild to hot depending on the peppers used in production. Paprika varys in colors from bright reds to browns and even yellows thus making it a excellent garnish. Slightly heating paprika with oil will extract the heat from the spice and can add a great punch to a dish. Paprika is also very high in vitamin C even more so then oranges.
To produce paprika from chilli peppers you first must dissect the chilli peppers to remove the seeds and stems. Once the chili fruit is isolated you will need to dry the fruit until the skin is extremely dry and brittle. The peppers then need to be worked into a fine power. Use tools such as mortar and pestle or coffee grinder for this process.
The most common pepper species is the bell pepper named appropriately from the physical shape of the fruit. In British English, the fruit is simply referred to as a “pepper“, or additionally by colour eg. Green pepper. In many Commonwealth Nations, such as Australia, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, they are called “capsicums“. Another name is the sweet pepper because of the sweet taste. Bell peppers are the mildest form of chili’s. They are listed as zero on the scoville scale and don’t emit any heat at all.
Bell Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Pepper seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other European, African and Asian countries. Today, Mexico remains one of the major pepper producers in the world.
Bell pepper plants are vigorous upright plants producing green ,yellow, orange, red and even purple fruit. Bell pepper skins are glossy and deeply colored, with the flesh being crisp and succulent. Bell pepper plants measure 18-30 inches in height and are generally very productive. The ‘Jingle Bell’ pepper plant produces miniature bell peppers measuring less than 1 inch long. This variety is excellent for container growing. A tray of stuffed miniature bell peppers is delightful.
Growing Bell Peppers
– Plant seeds eight weeks before the last frost indoor using a pot that is at least 2 inches or slightly larger.
– Transplant young seedlings in the ground or a pot outdoors after the last chance of frost. If the weather is still cool, delay transplanting for a few days. Wait until the soil is 70 to 85 degrees before setting the seedlings out.
– Space the seedlings 9 to 12 inches apart and in rows 12 to 24 inches apart.
– Water the plants regularly, especially in the hot, dry summer months. Pepper plants like moist soil. If you do not water enough, the bell peppers will acquire a bitter taste or even worse get frail and die.
– Surround the peppers with mulch to keep weeds from growing and to retain moisture.
– Harvest the bell pepper at any point after they reach an edible size. Most bell pepper peppers are green when immature and can be harvested at that time. Mature bell peppers can be red, orange, yellow, green or purple depending on the variety. Continue to harvest bell peppers by clipping them off the plant. Bell peppers will continue to grow until the first frost.
Bell peppers are delicious eaten fresh in green and pasta salads, and make a wonderful addition to spaghetti sauce. The fruit is also frequently consumed in its unripe form, when the fruit is still green. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment. The sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet. Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, another antioxidant, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers
Stuffed Bell Peppers
One of the most common bell pepper recipes Stuffed Bell Peppers. Dad’s Stuffed Bell Peppers is a very good post detailing how easy and great this disk is to make. I would highly recommend give it a crack.