Paprika Spice

pap1Paprika spice is high in vitamin A & C as well as bioflavonoids, antioxidants, and carotenes.

Paprika can help to relieve sore throats, runny nose, congestion, and headaches that often accompany the common cold.

Paprika is in the same capsicum family as chili and bell peppers, but is unique in flavor and can range from very sweet to extremely hot.

The capsicum has analgesic or pain-relieving properties. Paprika has up to nine times the amount of vitamin C than tomatoes.

This high vitamin C content helps to strengthen the immune system, protect against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke, and help the body absorb and assimilate iron.

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Paprika has the ability to aid in digestion and help to improve circulation.

Paprika also boosts your daily intake of vitamin E. Each tablespoon provides 2 milligrams of vitamin E, or 13 percent of the recommended daily intake determined by the Institute of Medicine.

Vitamin E helps control blood clot formation and promotes healthy blood vessel function, and also serves as an antioxidant, preventing cellular lipids from destruction.

A tablespoon of paprika contains 1.4 milligrams of iron, providing 8 and 18 percent of the daily recommended intakes for women and men, respectively, determined by the Institute of Medicine.

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Paprika has even been known to help normalize blood pressure and feed the cell structure of the arteries, veins, and capillaries so they regain elasticity. It can stimulate the body and be a great internal warmer in cold weather.

Paprika has antibacterial properties that can protect one from salmonella and E.coli in the digestive tract.

Paprika also has the ability to help the body fight common infections.

Paprika is produced in various places including Hungary, Serbia, Spain and some regions of the United States. It is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world.

It is principally used to season and color rice, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient mixed with meats and other spices.

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In the United States, paprika is frequently sprinkled on foods as a garnish, but the flavor is more effectively produced by heating it gently in oil.

A pinch can even be added to your morning smoothie or fruit salad for a spicy and immune boosting kick.

Paprika is an excellent addition to any vegetable dish including soups, fresh salsa, guacamole, roasted vegetables, potatoes, and cauliflower.

Combine paprika with other spices, such as garlic powder and cayenne, and use as a healthful rub for chicken breast, fish or lean red meat.

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Lightly coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and paprika, and then roast until tender, or use paprika as a seasoning for roasted or steamed carrots.

Add a spoonful of paprika to your favorite hummus to add flavor, or roast peeled chickpeas in a mix of paprika and coconut oil for a healthful snack.

Use paprika to season homemade soups for it pairs especially well with pureed carrot, squash or pumpkin soups.

Growing

When growing your own paprika peppers, you may select either Hungarian or Spanish varietals to plant.

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If you are going to make the peppers into paprika, however, Kalosca is a thin-walled sweet pepper that is easily dried and ground.

There are many varieties so pick one that suites your climate and soil.

Paprika peppers are naturally accustomed to the long growing seasons of warm climates, so they take a long time to germinate from seed. They are easiest to grow from transplants yet you can also grow them from seeds.

They are very cold sensitive, so do not plant them outside until the weather is above 50 degrees F Hold them indoors up to 2 weeks after you would typically put your tomatoes and other veggie transplants out.

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If your young transplants have flowers or small fruit already developing, pinch them off before you transplant to redirect the plant’s energy into growing roots and gaining strength.

Paprika peppers require a good quality, well-draining soil that will hold moisture, but not wetness.

These peppers are finicky about their water, so maintain a good, moist balance at all times. Provide a mulch to help preserve the balance, especially if you experience some really hot weather.

Gather the peppers when the colors become solid; paprika peppers that are red are usually the sweetest, whereas the brown or golden-yellow paprika peppers are the hottest.

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Dry your peppers the old-fashioned way by hanging them on a string until all of the moisture is gone. You can also lay them flat on a cookie sheet and turn them often.

When your peppers are dry and crumbly, put them in a coffee grinder until the peppers are ground down to a course powder. Store in an air tight jar.

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