Hungary is the one country most renowned for their the use of paprika
In Hungary, the spice is just as commonly used as salt and pepper are here in the United States and is an everyday ingredient in the most of their daily cooking.
In fact, they add several heaping tablespoons …not the sprinkling like many of us do when we make deviled eggs.,,adding the intense peppery flavor and aroma so characteristic of Hungarian cuisine…most commercial
The peppers used to make Hungarian paprika are sweeter than the peppers used in other countries because their cool growing season. causes the peppers to retains more sugar,
If it weren’t for Christopher Columbus, Hungarians may have never heard of paprika…as the peppers and paprika actually come from Central America.
Diego Chanca, Christopher Columbus’ doctor, made sure that he took this plant back with him on their voyages.
At first Europeans were quite suspicious about the new plant…and for two centuries only used it for decoration.
Even though paprika had first been introduced to Europe in the 15th century, it did not became a popular ingredient in Hungarian cuisine until the 1780’s.
Interestingly right after World War II paprika was actually used by the communists for hard currency.
Paprika production in Hungary was nationalized by the communist government, prohibiting local growers from milling their own paprika powder and mandating that the farmers hand over all their peppers to state-owned mills.
People in Hungary were actually sent to prison for selling paprika on their own.
Paprika was important to these communists because they desperately needed foreign currency…and were able to export tons of paprika each year in exchange for German or American money.
Event though most of have a conainer of paprika sitting way back far in the spice cabinet, waiting to be pulled out only on those rare occasions when you make deviled eggs…kike once or twice a year…paprika is a spice that has way more to offer than we give it credit for.
But what exactly is paprika?
Paprika actually ripened and dried bell peppers that have been ground into a powder…(gee, that might explain why this blog about paprika has been stuck in with my other posts on bell peppers—such as this one.
There are actually several different types of paprika—all dependent on which pepper or combination of peppers has been used to make it.
And the different types of paprika can range in spiciness from mild to hot.