Paprika is a ground spice made from dried fruits of Capsicum annuum, providing color and flavor to dishes. Th word Paprika is derived from the Hungarian paprika, meaning pepper (Capsicum).

Paprika is a widely used ingredient in various dishes around the world, and is primarily used to season and color rices, stews, and soups, such as goulash, and in the preparation of sausages as an ingredient that is mixed with meats and other spices.

Spain has the highest quality and most expensive paprika. Paprika is known as pimentón in Spain, and is available in numerous varieties, such as pimentón ahumado which has a distinct smokey flavor and aroma, as it is dried by smoking, typically using oak wood, and available in three versions, mild, moderately spicy and very spicy. The other variety is known simply as pimentón, or regular unsmoked paprika, also comes in as mild, moderately spicy and very spicy versions. Pimentón is a main ingredient in Spanish sausage products, such as chorizo or sobrasada, as well as in many Spanish dishes.

Hungary is a major producer of cheaper paprika, which is more commonly used. Cheaper paprika comes in the following grades:-
Special quality (Különleges)- The mildest and very sweet with a deep bright red color.
Delicate (Édes csemege) – A mild paprika with a rich flavor and light to dark red color.
Exquisite Delicate (Csemegepaprika) – Quite similar to Delicate, but more pungent.
Pungent Exquisite Delicate (Csípo"s Csemege, Pikáns) - A more pungent version of Delicate.
Rose (Rózsa) – Strong aroma, mild pungency and pale red in color.
Noble Sweet (Édesnemes) – Bright red and slightly pungent, and is the most commonly exported paprika.
Half-Sweet (Félédes) – A blend of mild and pungent paprikas; medium pungency.
Strong (Ero"s) – The hottest paprika with light brown color. Capsicum peppers used for paprika are unusually rich in vitamin C, and also high in other antioxidant. Paprika contains strong spices, which may cause a burning sensation in the mucous membranes of the anus.

Capsicum fruits used to prepare paprikaCapsicum fruits used to prepare paprika
Author: Joy (GNU General Public License )

Author: Badagnani (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0-unported)

Dried paprika sale at a Belgrade marketplace (ground paprika also in the background)Dried paprika sale at a Belgrade marketplace (ground paprika also in the background)
Author: Pino (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

Red beans and rice, prepared with smoked spanish paprikaRed beans and rice, prepared with smoked spanish paprika
Author: Paul Goyette (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)

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