Paprika Spice Profile

What is Paprika?

Paprika is produced from dried fruit pods of several varieties of the Capsicum family, which also produces red pepper and chili. The appearance of paprika plants is similar to that of red pepper, although paprika is grown and harvested primarily in Spain, Hungary, Mexico and the Americas. As paprika pods ripen, they turn in color from green to yellow to a mature bright red which is ready for harvest. However, the pods ripen at different times, and so harvesting must take place by hand, and may occur up to 6 times during a harvest season to obtain the maximum plant yield. After picking, the pods are cleaned, dried, and packed for shipment to the consuming country for further

Paprika is the most mild of the Capsicum family, and is used in America primarily for its color rather than its pungency. Not surprisingly, the brighter the color of paprika, the more costly it is. Paprika is typically classified by its ASTA level, which measures the extractable color, or color which comes from the spice upon addition to water or a food product. This measurement may be different than a surface color measurement, which is reported in L.a.b. numbers.

What is it used for today?

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As mentioned above, paprika is used in America primarily for its eye appeal in numerous blends. It may be found in soup, sauce, meat, topical snack or other seasonings. It is often included to add red-orange color or to enhance an existing color level.

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