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From sweet to hot, spiced peppers and chillies have a variety of varieties to offer. The bright red paprika powder is the epitome of Hungarian cuisine. Fiery chillies are also becoming increasingly popular in this country. Perennial pepperoni and chili plants can be grown in the garden or in pots: the very warmth-loving plants like it to be evenly moist. They should overwinter cool and light, repotted and cut back in spring…
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- Ingredients, smell and taste
- Use and preparation
The paprika (Capsicum annuum) comprises vegetable and spice peppers. Like the potato, the annual herbaceous plant belongs to the nightshade family (Solanaceae). The paprika is very diverse. There are differences in shape, color, size and sharpness. Botanically, paprika, chilli peppers and sweet peppers are closely related to each other (Capsicum annuum var.annuum), while chillies belong to several different species of the genus Capsicum (Ca psicum frutescens, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum pubescens) and do not belong to one, but rather are perennial.
The plants develop dark green, pointed leaves with yellowish-white, star-shaped flowers from which the fruits form, which are often incorrectly referred to as pods. In botanically correct terms, they are berries. This means fleshy, juicy fruits that remain closed when ripe. A real pod, on the other hand, would be dry and hard and would also open with two flaps. The berries of the paprika and chilli types are not as juicy as, for example, grapes. That is why they are also called "dry berries" in technical terms. They are hollow on the inside and chambered by partitions (also: "paprika veins," "central ribs"). In the middle, on a central tissue (the Planzenta) and on the partition walls are the seeds.
The fruit of the pepper (Capsicum annuum var. Annuum) has a red color when ripe. To produce the spice powder, the pepper fruits are dried and ground. The pungent substances are mainly found in the seeds and septum. Depending on the desired degree of spiciness of the powder, the spicy seeds and partitions are removed or ground together. Pepperoni and chilli fruits are smaller and mostly elongated. They vary from green, yellow, orange to red - but the color says nothing about their sharpness.
Tip Perennial pepperoni and chilli plants can be grown in the garden or in pots: the very warmth-loving plants like it to be evenly moist. They should overwinter cool and light, repotted and cut back in spring. Only the tree chilli (Capsicum pubescens) can withstand the winter cold.
Ingredients, smell and taste
Spiced paprika tastes fruity, aromatic, sweet to slightly hot. Chilies taste fruity, earthy or smoky, depending on the variety, their spiciness varies in type and intensity. The hot substance capsaicin is responsible for the spiciness of paprika, chili peppers and chillies.
The degree of heat is given in Scoville Units (SCU, Scoville Units):
- Mild, non-hot varieties like sweet peppers have zero-degree SCU.
- Hotter varieties such as chili peppers or cherry peppers have between 100 and 1,500 degrees SCU.
- Medium- spicy varieties such as Jalapeno range between 1,500 and 100,000 degrees SCU.
- Very hot varieties such as Thai chilli, Cayenne or Habanero have between 100,000 and 500,000 degrees SCU. The currently most hotly known chilli is the “Naga jolokia”, which reaches up to 1,000,000 degrees SCU.
Fresh chillies, chili peppers and sweet peppers provide vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids, the precursors of vitamin A.
Use and preparation
Red, dried paprika powder gives many dishes such as goulash, paprika chicken or various stews their typical taste and red color. The color-intensive spice is also popular in sausage production, e.g. salami, it not only gives a reddish color, but also the desired piquant aroma. Paprika powder should not be heated too much, otherwise it will become bitter.
Chillies can be used raw and dried in the kitchen. It is best to grind the dried chilli fruits directly in a spice mill. When strung on strings, the fruits are air-dried in about four to six weeks. Chillies are also suitable for freezing whole or cut into small pieces. Dried chillies have a more subdued heat than fresh ones. Chili is particularly popular in South American and Asian cuisine and gives many dishes their typical spiciness. It can also be ground into cayenne pepper, which gives Tabasco its spiciness.
Note Since the hot substances can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes, it is best to wear kitchen gloves when cutting and processing chillies.