Paprika HistoryPaprika is made from dried and ground chile peppers, capsicum annuum, which originated in southern Mexico. Capsicum is a member of the nightshade family which also includes potatoes and tomatoes.
Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing the chile to Europe. Aristocrats originally cultivated capsicum as ornamental plants until eventually their culinary value was recognized.
By the 1560's, these peppers had reached the Balkans where they were called peperke or paparka. The peppers soon migrated to Hungary, now renowned for its paprika. The Szeged and Kalocsa regions of Hungary are the most well-known producers of sweet paprika. The Paprika Museum makes its home in Kalocsa, and the city celebrates its famous spice with the Paprika Festival each year in October.
It was not until the mid-1900s that paprika stepped into the limelight of Western kitchens. Spain, South America, Mediterranean regions, India, and California join Hungary as major producers of paprika.
Paprika is used as a coloring agent in foods and cosmetics. Its inclusion in foods fed to zoo flamingos help them keep their pink plumage bright and beautiful.
More about Paprika and Paprika Recipes:• Paprika Cooking Tips
• Paprika Selection - Choosing the Right Paprika for Recipes
• Papriika and Health
• Paprika History
• Paprika Recipes
Paprika Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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