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People are only just realising what paprika is made out of - and it's not from a tree

Daily Mirror01/24/2023

A number of people have been left utterly aghast to learn what paprika is, despite the spice being a staple in most household store cupboards up and down the country

Paprika powder on a spoon (Stock Photo)
A number of people believed the spice came from a 'paprika tree' (Stock Photo)

Chances are that you'll have a pot or two of paprika in the back of your cupboard, with the spicy seasoning being a surefire way to add a little extra heat to a dish. From hearty stews to colourful bowls of paella, the crimson spice can bring out the flavour in any recipe, whether sweet or smokey.

As widely beloved as it is, however, many people are only just realising what paprika is actually made up of, having never considered where exactly it comes from and how it came to be. Having long believed paprika to be a distinct substance in and of itself, many were perplexed to learn that paprika is actually made up of ground-up peppers, just like the ones in their fridge.

Bell pepper on the tree ready to be sold and eaten (Stock Photo)
Paprika can be made using a variety of peppers (Stock Photo)

Twitter user @simsimmaaz recently expressed astonishment at her own discovery, tweeting: "Learning that paprika is just dried and crushed red bell peppers was really shocking. Like I dunno why I thought there was a Paprika tree somewhere."

Others reported similar amazement, with one person writing: "I didn't think there was a paprika tree, but I for sure thought it was some kind of spice blend or like its own thing that they just powdered."

Another confessed: "I also thought there was a curry tree and that allspice was a combination of spices."

A third laughed: "You're not as bad as me who didn't realize guacamole is just avocados. I always thought it tasted familiar."

Paprika can be made using cayenne peppers, bell peppers, Aleppo peppers, or sweet peppers. The pepper is first left to dry out, before being ground up using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Those looking to make their own smoked paprika, a popular ingredient for meat rubs and ranch dressings, will need to first smoke their peppers over an oak fire before drying them out.