Spice World

Spice World

Hot, sweet, smoked, plain, Hungarian, Spanish – what are the differences between types of paprika? Paprika is a powder made from grinding the pods of various kinds of Capsicum annuum peppers. Used for flavor and color, it is the fourth most consumed spice in the world and often appears in spice mixes (like the bahārāt we posted earlier this week), rubs, marinades, stews, chilis, and as a garnish. Depending on the variety of pepper and how it is processed, the color can range from bright red to brown and the flavor from mild to spicy. Therefore, it is helpful to know the distinct qualities that each type of paprika can bring to a dish.

• “Regular” or “plain” paprika

Most of the paprika sold in grocery stores is simply labeled “paprika.” Its origins may be Hungarian, Californian, or South American, and it is sometimes mixed with other chiles like cayenne. This paprika tends to be neither sweet nor hot and is a suitable garnish for things like deviled eggs or wherever you want some color.

&bull Hungarian paprika

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Paprika is considered the national spice of Hungary and it appears in the country’s most celebrated dish, goulash. Hungarian paprika is made from peppers that are harvested and then sorted, toasted, and blended to create different varieties. All Hungarian paprikas have some degree of rich, sweet red pepper flavor, but they range in pungency and heat. The eight grades of Hungarian paprika are különleges (“special quality”; mild and most vibrant red),csípősmentes csemege (delicate and mild),csemege paprika (similar to the previous but more pungent), csípős csemege (even more pungent), édesnemes (“noble sweet”; slightly pungent and bright red), félédes (semi-sweet with medium pungency), rózsa (mildly pungent and pale red), and erős (hottest and light brown to orange). In the US, what is marketed as Hungarian sweet paprika is usually the édesnemes variety.

• Spanish paprika or pimentón

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Although generally less intense that Hungarian paprika, Spanish paprika can range from dulce(sweet and mild) to agridulce (bittersweet and medium hot) to picante (hot), depending on the type of peppers used (round or long), whether the seeds are removed, and how they are processed. In Spain’s La Vera region, farmers harvest and dry the chiles over wood fires, creating smoked paprika or pimentón de La Vera. Smoked paprika should be used in paella and dishes where you want a deep, woodsy flavor.

If you have a recipe that calls for paprika without specifying which kind, you can usually get by with using Hungarian sweet paprika. But also consider what type of color, sweetness, pungency, or heat you’d like to add and experiment with the wide world of paprika varieties!

Spice World

Cumin put that smoky flavor in BBQ Sauces and Rubs here is some information about Cumin!


The English “cumin” derives from the Old English cymen (or Old French cumin), from Latin cuminum,[2] which is the latinisation of theGreek κύμινον (kyminon),[3] cognate with Hebrew כמון (kammon) and Arabic كمون (kammun).[4] The earliest attested form of the word in Greek is the Mycenaean 


Cumin is the dried seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum, a member of the parsley family. The cumin plant grows to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) tall and is harvested by hand. It is an annual herbaceous plant, with a slender, glabrous, branched stem which is 20–30 cm (8–12 in) tall and has a diameter of 3–5 cm (1 14–2 in).[8] Each branch has two to three sub-branches. All the branches attain the same height, therefore the plant has a uniform canopy.[8] The stem is coloured grey or dark green. The leaves are 5–10 cm (2–4 in) long, pinnate or bipinnate, with thread-like leaflets. The flowers are small, white or pink, and borne in umbels. Each umbel has five to seven umbellts.[8] The fruit is a lateral fusiform or ovoid achene 4–5 mm (1615 in) long, containing two mericarps with a single seed.[8]Cumin seeds have eight ridges with oil canals.[8] They resemble caraway seeds, being oblong in shape, longitudinally ridged, and yellow-brown in colour, like other members of the umbelliferae family such as caraway, parsley and dill.


Cumin seeds

Cumin has been in use since ancient times. Seeds excavated at the Indian site have been dated to the second millennium BC. They have also been reported from several New Kingdom levels of ancient Egyptian archaeological sites.[9] In the ancient Egyptian civilisation cumin was used as spice and as preservative in mummification.[8]

Originally cultivated in Iran and the Mediterranean region,[citation needed] cumin is mentioned in the Bible in both the Old Testament (Isaiah28:27) and the New Testament (Matthew 23:23). The ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today), and this practice continues in Morocco. Cumin was also used heavily in ancient Roman cuisine. It was introduced to the Americas by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. There are several different types of cumin but the most famous ones are black and green cumin which are both used in Persian cuisine.

Today, the plant is mostly grown in ChinaUzbekistanTajikistan, Iran, Turkey, MoroccoEgyptSyriaMexicoChile and India. Since cumin is often used as part of birdseed and exported to many countries, the plant can occur as a rare casual in many territories including Britain.[10] Cumin occurs as a rare casual in the British Isles, mainly in Southern England; but the frequency of its occurrence has declined greatly. According to the Botanical Society of the British Isles’ most recent Atlas, only one record has been confirmed since 2000.

In India, cumin has been used for millennia as a traditional ingredient of innumerable kormasmasalas, soups, and other spiced gravies.

Cuminum cyminum Linn.

Cultivation and production [11][edit]

Cultivation areas[edit]

The main producer and consumer of cumin is India. It produces 70% of the world production and consumes 90% of its own production (which is 63% of the world production). Other producers are Syria (7%), Turkey (6%) and Iran (6%). The remaining 11% production is assigned to other countries. Totally, around 300,000 tons[clarification needed] of cumin per year are produced worldwide. 2007 India produced around 175,000 tons of cumin on an area of about 410,000 ha. I.e. the average yield is 0.43 tons per hectare.[8]

Climatic requirements[edit]

Cumin is a drought tolerant, tropic or semi-tropic crop. Its origin is most probably Egypt, Turkmenistan and the east Mediterranean. Cumin has a short growth season of 100 – 120 days.[12] The optimum growth temperature ranges are between 25° and 30°C.[8] The Mediterranean climate is most suitable for its growth; cumin requires a moderatly cool and dry climate. Cultivation of cumin requires a long, hot summer of three to four months. Upon low temperatures leaf colour changes from green to purple. High temperature might reduce growth period and induce early ripening. In India, Cumin is sown from October until the begin of December and harvesting starts in February.[8] In Syria and Iran Cumin is sown from mid-November until mid-December (extensions up to mid-January are possible) and harvested in June/July.[8]

Cultivation parameters[edit]

Cumin is grown from seeds. The seeds need 2 to 5 °C (36 to 41 °F) for emergence, an optimum of 20–30 °C (68–86 °F) is suggested. Cumin is vulnerable to frost damage, especially at flowering and early seed formation stages.[8] Methods to reduce frost damage are spraying with sulfuric acid (0.1%), irrigating the crop prior to frost incidence, setting up windbreaks or creating an early morning smoke cover.[8] The seedlings of cumin are rather small and their vigor is low. Soaking the seeds for 8 hours before sowing enhances germination.[8] For an optimal plant population a sowing density of 12–15 kilograms per hectare (11–13 lb/acre) is recommended.[8] Fertile, sandy, loamy soils with good aeration, proper drainage and high oxygen availability are preferred. The pH optimum of the soil ranges from pH 6.8 to 8.3.[8] Cumin seedlings are sensitive to salinity [12]and emergence from heavy soils is rather difficult for cumin. Therefore a proper seedbed preparation (smooth seed bed) is crucial for optimal establishment of cumin.

Two sowing methods are used for cumin, broadcasting and line sowing.[8] For broadcast sowing, the field is divided into beds and the seeds are uniformly broadcast in this bed. Afterwards they are covered with soil using a rake. For line sowing shallow furrows are prepared with hooks in a distance of 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 in). The seeds are afterwards placed in these furrows and covered with soil. Line sowing offers advantages for intercultural operations such as weeding, hoeing or spraying.[8] The recommended sowing depth is 1–2 cm and the recommended sowing density is around 120 plants per square metre. The water requirements of cumin are lower than those of many other species.[8] Despite, cumin is often irrigated after sowing to be sure that enough moisture is available for seedling development. The amount and frequency of irrigation depends on the climate conditions.[8]

Cultivation management[edit]

The relative humidity in the center of origin of cumin is rather low. High relative humidity (i.e. wet years) favours fungal diseases. Cumin is especially sensitive to Alternaria blight and Fusarium wilt. Early sown crops are exhibit stronger disease effects than late sown crops. The most important disease is wilt caused by Fusarium resulting in yield losses up to 80%.[8] Fusarium is seed- or soil-borne and it requires distinct soil temperatures for development of epidemics.[8] Inadequate fertilization might favour Fusarium epidemics.[8]Cumin blight (Alternaria) appears in the form of dark brown spots on leaves and stems.[8] When the weather is cloudy after flowering the incidence of the disease is increased.[8]Another, but less important disease is powdery mildew. Incidence of powdery mildew in early development can cause drastic yield losses because no seeds are formed.[8] Later in development powdery mildew causes discoloured, small seeds.[8]

Pathogens can lead to high reductions in crop yield. Cumin can be attacked by aphids (Myzus persicae) at flowering stage. They suck the sap of the plant from tender parts and flowers. The plant becomes yellow, the seed formation is reduced (yield reduction) and the quality of the harvested product decreases. Heavily infested plant parts should be removed. Other important pests are the mites (Petrobia latens) which frequently attack the crop. Since the mites mostly feed on young leaves, the infestation is more severe on young inflorescences.

The open canopy of cumin is another problem. Only a low proportion of the incoming light is absorbed. The Leaf Area Index (LAI) of cumin is low (approximately 1.5). This might be a problem because weeds can compete with cumin for essential resources such as water and light and thereby lower yield. The slow growth and a short stature of cumin favours weed competition additionally.[8] Two hoeing and weeding sessions (30 and 60 days after sowing) are needed for the control of weeds. During the first weeding session (30 days after sowing) thinning should be done as well to remove excess plants. The use of pre-plant or pre-emergence herbicides is very effective in India.[8] But this kind of herbicide application requires soil moisture for a successful weed control.

Fertilization recommendations in India[8]

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