Paprika is one of the common spices used in many cuisines worldwide. It gets the chili powder when it is spicy. Otherwise, it is sweet or smoked.
No matter what kind of paprika you like, in the end, it is the product of grinding dried red peppers, and it is easy to make at home.
Which peppers are best to make paprika?
The general rule is to use ripe peppers that have reached a deep red color. It is also essential to choose peppers with thin flesh rather than those with thick walls, such as bell peppers.
The thick-walled peppers hold a lot of moisture and take too long to dry. They also might lose some of their deep colors once dehydrated.
If you are a gardener and you want to grow enough peppers to make paprika, here are a few sweet varieties I tried and loved.
It is a long skinny pepper with vibrant red color at maturity. Corbacci is a sweet pepper with thin walls. The plant is fast-growing and produces prolifically compared to other sweet pepper plants.
Ajvarski is, by far, my favorite sweet pepper to grow. The fruit size is big enough and turns red relatively fast. This is another prolific plant.
This variety is relatively small but highly productive. The peppers dry in no time. Shishito is slightly spicy, making it suitable for those who don’t like any heat. They are also a great choice to turn into crushed pepper flakes.
How to dry peppers for paprika
The best way to dehydrate peppers is by air-drying them, either by setting them on an airy rack or threading them into a necklace to hang. It is crucial to place them in a dry and airy spot with no direct sunlight.
Do I need to remove the seeds?
Removing the seeds is a personal preference, but it is not hard to do.
When the peppers dry well, the seeds inside will become loose. It is only a question of breaking the cap and then shaking them out of the pepper. It should not take long unless you have tons.
How many peppers do I need to make paprika?
First, the answer is not about the number of peppers but their weight. Vegetables have more than 90% of their weight in water. Peppers are no different, and according to the nutrition facts, green peppers have 94% of their weight in water.
After drying, the peppers will lose all the water weight and shrink considerably. So, you have to keep in mind that one pound of fresh pepper is not going to yield one pound of paprika.
Once dried, one pound of fresh peppers will lose approximately 15 ounces of weight. That means we end up with roughly one ounce of dried peppers. After removing the seeds (which won’t weigh much) and grinding, the final weight is less than an ounce of paprika powder.
To make a 4 oz jar worth of paprika, you need approximately four pounds of fresh red peppers.
How to grind peppers to make paprika?
There is no need to look for a specialized spice grinder. Any coffee grinder will do the job.
- Make sure the peppers are dehydrated.
- Cut the top to empty the seeds.
- Crush the peppers using your hands.
- Fill the grinder with the allowed amount.
- Give it two to three whirls until it turns into a fine powder.
- Store the powder in a dry clean glass jar with an airtight lid.
How to store paprika/ spices?
It is essential to store all spices properly to preserve their aroma and flavor.
- Use a glass jar better than plastic to prevent any unnecessary chemical reactions.
- Make sure your container is dry and clean. Any moisture will grow mold over time.
- Keep the unused spices in airtight containers to keep them fresh for the longest possible.
- Keep your paprika and any other spices away from heat and light.