You must have heard about our treasure what every hungarian proud for. If somebody says Hungary a lot of people will think to paprika. This plant is brought by turkish to Hungary in the 16-17th centuries because of mediterranean shipway was stopped so the pepper couldn't be brought from India. In that time the paprika is started to use in place of pepper.
At first it is used to decorate the garden later hungarian sheperds and herdsmen consume their foods with hot paprika. Lots of years last to that spread widely acceptance as spice. Although the Capsicum Annum ( Paprika genus' latin name ) come from Center-American the paprika grinding is hungarian foundation. Till then it is used in whole and not in ground form. Other hungarian innovation made the paprika making more efficient namely Palfy brothers of Szeged invented a machine in 1859 what removes the veins,stems and seeds from pods so they could make semisweet paprika.Millmaster could controll the pungency with capsaicin removing or detaining. That becomes possible to make easily ground paprika with different capsaicin content. Formerly the veins and seeds used to be removed by hand so that they gain paprika with lower capsaicin but it was impossible to predict that the flavours would be mild or hot. The pepper what come from Columbus' doctor were hot. Capsaicin what give the pungent spicy taste of paprika is located in the glands in the pods' inner wall. Not-pungent paprika variaty is bred by Ferenc Horvath in Kalocsa. Obermeyer Erno bred sweet paprika varieties with high colour content. Later He bred pungent varieties in Szeged.
Sweet paprika does not have capsaicin but its flavour,aroma and fragrance is admirable. This was a great step to produce sweet paprika in large-scale. The sweet paprika become world famous. In 1879 Auguste Escoffier introduced hungarian paprika powder in grand Hotel in Monte Carlo what he bought in Szeged in Tisza river. From this occasion the paprika is known as hungarian spice. It was starting the paprika exportation in large quantity. In Hungary there are a lot of paprika varieties. The most importent factor are the great extractable pigment and high dry matter content. The additional factors are good yield, ripening synchronicity, weight of fruit, resistance of the fruit against rotting and good pods detachability. Steps of paprika processing: harvesting, after-ripening, preparation, drying, crushing, milling, sieving, cooling, storing.
Harvesting: From the end of August the ripe paprika is being harvested with manual picking. Uniform and complet maturity pods are picked to crate. By this period grow up qualitative paprika determinative compounds: capsanthin, capsorubin, zeaxanthin, lutein, kriptoxanthin, β-carotin, volatile oils, capsaicin, sugar, vitamins and mineral material. The best favourable pigments is red. In the beginning of ripening the yellow pigment is dominant, later the red pigment content more than 70 %. Only the ripe, sound and healthy fruit of paprika is harvested. The half-ripe, smutty and unsound paprika is not harvested because of qualitative deterioration.
Hungarian Annex says:
Paprika pods used as raw material shall:
have a sound, healthy surface and inner texture;be free of any mechanical defects, pests and plant diseases;have a characteristically agreeable, pure taste and odour;become ripe to an overall red colour on the plant stem, and those submitted to after-ripening shall be dark red as a result of after-ripening.
The paprika pods shall not be:
immature, diversely coloured;
of foreign taste and odour;
malformed or underdeveloped;
of wet surface, exuding juice, rotten;
After-ripening: It lasts for 10-40 days. The pods are kept in trawl, crates or in string. Formerly the string of paprika used to hung in rainproof place and the sunshine desiccated those. This step is very importent because of the content of dry matterl and the pigment of paprika will increase a lot. ( 30-50 % the red pigment increasing) You can win more and stabler pigment. Proper hygiene conditions are required so that only healthy and sound paprika is selected to trawls or crates to prevent the inducing of spoilage or infection.
Preparation: The raw paprika is cleaned with water jet than It is selected and cleaned again. The paprika is sliced to 12-15 mm piece so the drying efficient might be better. It is essential that the stems must be sound after slicing so it is possible to remove those to prevent qualitative degradation.
Drying: The goal is to decrease the water content to 6-8 % in the paprika with warm air and to win a semi-finished products with stable colour material. Drying processing is very sensitive process. Carotenoids are sensitive to heat and the amount of ones might decrease in this step. The hot air shall cause a bitter flavour with sugar caramelization and a brown colour. Band dryer is used to dry the healthy, ripe and sound material. Green, half-ripe, smutty material is not acceptable because of lipoxigenase enzyme activity. Lots of core shall might cause faded colour because of peroxidase enzyme activity. The drying's efficient and effective is qualified the repeating of colur content test. Humane drying process shall effect stabler pigment. HPLC (High-Performance Liquid Cromatography ) is a good method to measure the colour content. The red and yellow pigment quotient is a measure of value of ripeness.
Crushing: After drying the paprika must be cooled and split to small (2-3 cm) pieces so that the paprika can be put in bags to store in cool, dark and dry place. If the paprika contain cores much of it must be romoved The Split paprika take up less room. If you put the warm pieces to bags the matererial will not get stout in the hermetically bags and not will preserve brusque and splitable state. The cool (2-5 °C) temperature prevent the colour fading of paprika. The result is a semi-finished product.
Milling: To the buyer demand the millmaster calculate the ratios of species of paprika. Different capsaicin and colour content is desired to buyers. The paprika with high capsicin content is yellower than the sweet delicate paprika but a lot of customer buy it because of pungency. Rózsa paprika can have 800 mg / kg capsaicin what is really hot. Capsaicin have an antioxidant effect so prevent the yellow fraction's oxidation to red pigment. The most buyer would like to buy paprika with high colour content because of its coloring capability and its exquisite flavour. At first the paprika is ground with hammer grinder. This is appropriate to premilling but the progressive heat is dangerous to pigment so it is ground further in electric line of mills that have stone wheeels. The last stone is the ruddier stone. The stone wheels rotate slowly so tha paprika material can not be warmed to high not to genarate browning. Finished products fraction is smaller than 0,5 mm but the 75-85 % of whole is among 0,3-0,4 mm. If you reduce the size of grain the visually perceived light tone and the specific surface will rise. The bigger surface shall cause greater oxidation speed and the dangerous of fading is high. The milling with stone is an old technology in Szeged and Kalocsa It is done for more than 100 years.
Sieving: After milling the powder must be sieved to required size of grain (0,25-0,45 mm) and cooled to room's temperature. The ground powder moisture content is 5-6 % what might be to adjust to 8-9 % with vaporizer. Storing: The paprika powder must be stored in cool, dark and dry place in aroma-protected packing material. The best solution is in polyethylene + paper bags in + 2- 5 °C. If the powder be made with seeds it has a protector effect. The seeds' antioxident content shall delay the fading. The Codex Alimentarius Hungaricus 2-8720 guide-line says that the ground paprika must be classified to the following group:
Exquisite paprika: Homogen grinding and appearance with acceptable size of grain, bright red colour, spicy scene and sweety, typical flavours of paprika
Delicate: Homogen grinding and appearance with acceptable size of grain, red or yellow red with tone of yellow brown colour, typical scene and flavours of paprika
Noble-sweet: Homogen grinding with barly mosaic appearance and acceptable size of grain, red, lighter red, yellow red with tone of yellow brown colour, typical scene and flavours of paprika
Rózsa: Homogen grinding with barly mosaic appearance and acceptable size of grain, fading red colour with tone of yellow brown, typical scene and flavours of paprika, mildly pungent.
Capsaicin content groups: Not exceeds 100 mg /kg that we name Csípősségmentes ( Not-pungent),
Capsaicin content is among 100 - 200 mg /kg what we name Enyhén csípős ( barly pungent),
Capsaicin characteristic Exceeds 200 mg/ kg what we name Csípős ( Pungent).
The Hungarian cuisine is well known about Chicken paprikash and Goulash. Principally used spice of Hungarian kitchen.