Almapaprika is a wonderful  sweet pepper and as the name  suggests is the source of the versatile spice, paprika.

Grafted almapaprika plants were included in the Dobies range this year for the first time. Introduced by Rob Smith, winner of the BBC Big Allotment Challenge 2015 they are an interesting addition. Rob says “Pepper species are native to the Americans and have been cultivated for thousands of years. The Spanish and Portuguese brought them back to Europe and to their colonies in Africa and Asia. From there peppers continued to spread and develop. Almapaprika is a fantastic pepper. Also known as the Hungarian Apple due to its shape. It starts of creamy white and gradually changes to fire engine red”.

Almapaprika is a sweet, thick-skinned pepper with a mild heat. The peppers can be eaten fresh from the garden and are perfect for stuffing. However, I’m sure most people will have chosen this variety wanting to have a go at making their own paprika.

Paprika

Making paprika is easy but time consuming. Once the peppers have turned to red they need to be picked and thoroughly dried. This is easy if you have a dehumidifier but otherwise will involve hanging the pepper is a warm, dry environment. Keep them out of the sun as otherwise they will lose their intense red colour.

Once dried break the peppers up and discard the seeds. Then grind the peppers to a fine powder using a spice grinder, food processor or blender. If you are feeling energetic then use a pestle and mortar, great for the arm muscles! If you do choose to grind by hand, then sieve the powder through a fine strainer and regrind the larger bits.

Milder than cayenne pepper and with a distinctive sweetness paprika is much used in Hungarian and Spanish cooking. Not just goulash!

If you missed out on buying any Almapaprika plants this year then no matter. I’m sure they’ll be back next season.

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