Home Grown Paprika!

Did you know that you can grow your own paprika? Not only can you grow it yourself but I guarantee it will be the BEST paprika you have ever had in your kitchen. I grow two kinds of peppers that, when mature, I dry and grind into fabulous fresh paprika. For a sweet paprika I grow ‘Boldog’ Paprika Pepper. For a hotter taste I grow ‘Alma’ Paprika Pepper. All of the pictures show my ‘Boldog’ peppers.

This half basketful of ‘Boldog’ peppers is from one plant! Obviously the pepper plants loved this summer’s heat because the plants are overloaded with fruit. I wait until most of the peppers mature to a rich red before I pick them. I wash the peppers carefully to make certain there is no dirt left on them and cut them in half, top to bottom. I take out the seeds and ribs and cut each cleaned half into pieces about 2-3 inches long. Then all the pieces go into the dehydrator at 125° for 6-7 hours. When they are leathery they are done.

I store the dried pepper pieces in bale jars and label them carefully – sweet or hot. When I need paprika I dig into my stash and grind a few pieces in a coffee grinder. The freshly ground peppers give off a fantastic aroma. My favorite way to use paprika is in Chicken Paprikash. Freshly ground paprika doesn’t melt and disappear into the sauce but instead leaves the sauce speckled with tiny paprika flakes. The final sauce is rich and sooooo good.

Give me a few days and I’ll post the recipe for my families favorite Chicken Paprikash. You might want to have some chicken, sour cream, and paprika ready!! The recipe is great with ‘regular’ paprika so don’t feel left out if you don’t have your own homegrown paprika to grind.

I buy my seed for Alma Paprika Peppers from Territorial Seed Company and for Boldog Paprika Peppers from The Cook’s Garden catalog.

Hey from the farm, Fran The Country Cousin

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