Capsicum annuum species
Country of Origin: Spain
Paprika Sweet 120-160 ASTA*
Paprika was first brought to Spain in the 16th century by Columbus after his grand voyage to America. Paprika was cultivated in North America and Central Mexico for centuries but the Spanish were the first who dried and ground the red fruits to make the spice we know today. Sweet paprika comes mostly from the variety of capsicums called bell peppers or sweet peppers but also cayenne peppers and chili peppers.
Sweet paprika is a ground spice used throughout the world to add color and taste in various recipes. Especially in the Balkan countries sweet paprika is widely used to add red color in soups, sauces, and marinades.
Sweet paprika is an excellent spice to be added raw on top of the dishes, at the end of the recipe, as overheating makes it a bit bitter. It can be used to season dishes with chicken, pork and beef as well as dishes with grilled and oven-baked vegetables and potatoes. Sweet paprika adds delicate taste to rice recipes and also omelettes, soups and tomato sauces. It can also be added in sausages and meatballs prior to cooking. Sweet paprika can be added in yogurt dips to uplift their taste. It can also be added on top of white cheese like feta cheese.
*The ASTA number refers to the brightness of the red paprika color and is a sorting medium. The 120-160 is a shiny red paprika that has a slightly smoky, very sweet smell with bitter notes as an aftertaste.