Saturday, November 5, 2016

Paprika Peppers

Fresh Paprika Peppers
This year's tomato crop would probably seem large to most people, but it was a small one for us.  We had about 125 plants in all - about 1/3 of the usual number.  The first few trays of seedlings died (due to operator error).  So, since the harvest would be smaller, salsa was the number one product we wanted to put up.

I have shared the Salsa Recipe I use before, but for the last couple of years we have been adding something extra - about 1 tablespoon of SMOKED paprika.  This really is the best salsa we've ever made, and really the smoked paprika is the difference.

We have canned about 65 jars of salsa and that's got to last us till next tomato season. That's just slightly over 1 jar per week. In our minds, that's not much at all!

I had never tried smoked papriks until sister Dana picked some up at a really neat spice and meat processing supply shop called Townsend Spice in Melbourne, Arkansas, and ever since I tried it, I'm hooked.  I love it. 

I set out on a quest to make my own smoked paprika.  It seemed simple enough - find paprika pepper seeds, plant them, harvest peppers, smoke, dry, grind, etc.

The first challenge was finding paprika pepper seeds.  I only found a couple of different sources on the internet.  I ended up buying seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  They carry two varieties, and I bought the Leutschauer Paprika Pepper.  They are supposedly originally from Hungary.  The package contained only 25 seeds and almost all seeds germinated.  The plants stayed quite small (probably because we neglected the seedlings) but produced a lot of peppers.  They are a lipstick red when ripe. 
Peppers in the dehydrator
The fresh and dried peppers are too hot for my taste, even though I remove the seeds and membranes before drying.  My next experiment will be to cook the peppers before drying them.  Cooked jalapenos don't seem nearly as hot so I am hoping this will help the paprikas as well.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. I had no idea where paprika came from (except a spice bottle), certainly not from a pepper! Cool.