Paprika is one of the common spices used in many cuisines around the world. There is spicy hot paprika with every level of heat, and there is the sweet one. Paprika powder is the product of grinding dried red peppers. Here is how to make yours at home.
Which peppers is best to make paprika?
The general rule is to use ripe peppers that have reached a deep red color. It is also important to choose peppers with thin flesh, rather than the ones that have 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 color 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 rather small but extremely productive variety. 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. There are two ways to do so either set them on an airy rack or thread them into a necklace to hang somewhere. Place them in a dry airy spot that does not get direct sunlight.
Do I need to remove the seeds?
It’s up to you to remove the seeds or not. If you are a fan of pepper flakes that might be a good idea. But I don’t want you to think that removing the seeds is a hard task.
When the peppers dry well, the seeds inside will become loose. It is only a question breaking the cap and shake 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 that water weight and will shrink considerably. So, you have to keep in mind that one pound of fresh pepper is not going to yield one pound of paprika.
One pound of fresh peppers will loose approximately 15 ounces of its weight once dried. That means we end up with roughly one ounce of dried peppers. After removing the seeds (which won’t weigh much) and grinding, the result is a little 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?
No need to waste your money looking for a specialized spice grinder. Any basic coffee grinder will do the job.
- Make sure the peppers are completely dry.
- 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.
When using spices, it is best to grind only the needed amount for the moment. Otherwise, avoid grinding more than four ounces to prevent the extra from going stale.
How to store paprika/ spices?
It is important 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 the longest possible.
- Keep your paprika and any other spices away from heat and light.