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Uses Of Paprika
Paprika is mainly used as a spice to color and season various dishes like soups, stews, rice etc; also used as a spice in meats and to garnish foods. It is also used along with henna powder to add a reddish tint to hair when coloring it.
But it’s much more than that! Paprika is not only a delicious spice but healthy as well.
Hungary is a major power with a very long histiory in cultivating and consuming of paprika. Here some paprika facts for you:
- Paprika powder is produced by grinding the dried, deep red paprika pods of the pepper plant (Capsicum annum L. is the botanical name).
- Although paprika is the symbol of Hungary’s cuisine, the plant was brought to the country by the Turks only in the 16-17th centuries.
- Its pungency ranges from sweet to mildly hot and very hot, depending of the type of pepper the powder was produced.
- The colour of the spices varies from mild to bright red and there are paprika powder types with brownish colour too. Note that not the brightest red paprika is the hottest! The orange coloured one will make you really cry.
- The hotness is caused by capsaicin, a chemical that is extracted from paprika plants to use in pharmaceutical production due to its pan killer effect.
- The fresh red pepper is rich in vitamin C (150mg/100g paprika) and other important minerals. Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian scientist was awarded the Noble prize in 1937 for discovering vitamin C, its antiscorbutic and other physiological effects.
- He and his colleagues worked at the laboratory of the Szeged University. Szent-Györgyi and his colleagues experimented with the paprika plant and they extracted vitamin C first in the world form the vegetable.
Nutrients in Paprika
- Paprika made from chilli peppers is extremely high in Vitamin C content and contains from 6 to 9 times more vitamin C than in tomatoes.
- The paprika made from bell peppers is extremely rich in Vitamin A.
- Contains a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals.
- Contains many vitamins like B complex, E and K in addition to A & C.
- Contains a wide variety of minerals.
- Is a rich source of carotenoid pigments.
- Contains the compound Capsaicin, which has many health benefits.