Paprika is one of my most used spices as it is so versatile. Less fiery than cayenne, it instead gives a subtle heat to any dish.
What is it exactly? Dried bell and chilli peppers that have been ground down and mixed.
As there are so many different varieties of pepper, there are so many different varieties of paprika; usually under the umbrella of Spanish or Hungarian paprika. These range from red to brown colour, mild to spicy heat and sweet to smoky taste.
Paprika is a good source of: (Bold indicates strong source of)
- Dietary Fiber
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
Paprika has been noted for:
- Getting things moving: boosting metabolism and digestion, circulation, detoxing and easing congestion.
- Relieving pain due to the anti-inflammatory properties of capsaicin.
- It’s rich antioxidant content.
Where to buy
As if often the case with processed ingredients, nutritional goodness can be lost during processing. The capsaicin found in paprika is sensitive to how it is dried, so if you use this spice regularly and want to maximise nutritional benefit, buy from ‘sensitive’ producers or make your own by drying peppers naturally in the sun or on a low temperature in a dehydrator.
Paprika doesn’t like being stored where daylight can reach it. If you have a spice rack, buy the non-glass tubs, otherwise store it in the pantry (cool, dry, dark). You can even refrigerate it to lock in colour for longer.
Paprika is counted as a member of the nightshade family as it consists of bell and chilli peppers. Other nightshades include tomatoes, white potatoes and aubergine/eggplant. While paprika can be anti-inflammatory, it is best to stay away from nightshades if you are working on reducing heat and inflammation in the body.