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3 Reasons to Get Pumped about Paprika

Sometimes sweet, sometimes smoky, and sometimes spicy, this bright red spice is one of the most popular and widely-consumed in the world for good reason!

Paprika is a spice made from fruits (in the same family as red chili peppers) that are dried and ground into powders. Its flavor can be described as savory, pungent and peppery, but notes of sweetness, smokiness and heat will depend on the particular variety you choose. Its bold color ranges between brown, orange to bright red (again, depending on the variety) and gives dishes like Paprikash a brilliant hue.

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Variety is the Spice of Life

Hungarian, Spanish, hot, sweet, smoked - what's the difference? As we stated before, paprika is made from peppers, and the flavor profile of the pepper (or blend of peppers used) is reflected in the spice. Peppers that have been smoked yields - you guessed it - smoked paprika. Hungarian and Spanish paprika contains peppers from those particular regions, and can range in spiciness, sweetness and pungency. The bottom line? You've got lots of different blends to work with, so sample a few and jazz up your favorite recipes with different blends. Who knows? It may become your secret ingredient!

Sprinkle on the Nutrients

Being made from peppers, it makes that paprika has lots of the same nutrients. Even small amounts of the spice can provide you with a healthy dose of vitamins E and B-6 as well as iron. A tablespoon of the stuff gives you two-thirds of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A! While not essential, capsaicin is the active compound in chili peppers that cause them to be spicy, and it's been shown to relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Capsaicin also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an ingredient often included in topical creams used for pain relief. No worries if you're not into heat; the antioxidant compounds in paprika are plentiful, and work wonders in fighting the free radicals linked to aging and chronic illness.

A World of New Recipes

Paprika is quite the world traveller! Although no country is quite as devoted to it as Hungary (it's their official national spice!), paprika makes an appearance in cuisines throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. It's used to make 'sofrito' in Argentina, in curry pastes in Thailand, and 'berbere' in Ethiopia. The French use paprika in stews like chicken basquaise, while the Italians tend to pair paprika with seafood and cheeses. Paprika brings flavor and bright red color to traditional Spanish chorizo. So go ahead, think beyond the usual paprika-dusting over hard-boiled eggs - use paprika as an excuse to try a new, delicious recipe from across the globe.

Paprika-Roasted Fish with Spring Onion & Potato Salad

Are you pumped about paprika? Try these recipes:

PAPRIKA-ROASTED FISH WITH SPRING ONION & POTATO SALAD

CHICKEN PAPRIKASH WITH EGG NOODLES

WILD-CAUGHT GULF SHRIMP & FENNEL TACOS WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA MAYO

PAPRIKA-RUBBED PORK CHOPS WITH SAUT√ČED SQUASH, TOMATOES & CHEESE GRITS

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