Once you’ve experienced the pleasure of growing sweet red peppers and then grinding the dried pods into fresh paprika, you’ll never want to buy grocery store paprika again.
I love to grow hot peppers, but I’ve also had fun gardening with other kinds, like sweet red paprika peppers. I added several pots of paprika to the container garden this year and they produced 5-6” long, curly peppers that ripened nicely on the plant.
As each pepper turned red, I picked it, washed it, and placed it on a screen to dry. I let my little crop dry thoroughly until they got crunchy before grinding. Then I let my spice mill do all of the work.
The grinding process released a warm, sweet pepper aroma so fragrant I had to stop and take a deep breath to savor it. The orange-red powder was certainly beautiful to behold.
Most of us are familiar with paprika used as small dashes to doll up deviled eggs, but in other parts of the world, paprika is an important savory seasoning. Chicken Paprikash and Hungarian Goulash are two recipes that require hefty amounts of paprika for flavor. Indian, Moroccan and Middle Eastern recipes often calls for paprika as a main ingredient.
Freshly ground paprika should be stored in a cool, dry place and will remain fresh for up to 6 months. But somehow I doubt it will last that long.