Paprika is a sweet mild red bell pepper (Capsicum annuum). Paprika powder is made from grinding the dried peppers. The seasoning is used in many cuisines to add colour and flavour to dishes.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word comes from the Hungarian "paprika", which derives from the Serbian "paprena", which means "the one that is hot" and it is derived from Serbian adjective papar "pepper" which in turn was borrowed from the Latin "piper", for "pepper."

Paprika powder is used as an ingredient in a broad variety of dishes throughout the world. The powder is known as pimentón in Spain, colorau in Portugal and chiltoma in Nicaragua, but these "paprikas" are not made exclusively from bell peppers, other varieties are used, and there are several hot and sweet "paprikas".

Paprika is principally used to season and colour rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash. In some European countries paprika is also used in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices. Paprika may be smoked for additional flavour.

In India, a similar powdered spice comes from a fruit locally called 'deghi mirch', which is grown widely and takes on a slightly different flavour depending on local soil and climatic conditions. The hottest paprikas are not the bright red ones, but rather the palest red and light brown coloured ones.

Paprika is unusually high in vitamin C. Hungary's Nobel prize-winning Professor Albert Szent-Györgyi first discovered the vitamin in paprika chili peppers. The capsicum peppers used for paprika contain six to nine times as much vitamin C as tomatoes by weight.

High heat leaches the vitamins from peppers, thus commercially-dried peppers are not as nutritious as those dried naturally in the sun.

As an antibacterial agent and stimulant, paprika can help normalize blood pressure, improve circulation, and increase the production of saliva and stomach acids to aid digestion

The paprika pepper records 0 - 100 Shu's on the Scoville scale.

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Capsicum
Species: C. annuum
Binomial name
Capsicum annuum

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