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37 responses to “Homemade Paprika: Because I Can”

  1. Elise

    Okay, so I finally, after 3 years, threw out the dried red thin skinned chili peppers I had been saving since my neighbor grew them and gave them to me, because I couldn’t figure out what the heck to do with them, and couldn’t be bothered to figure it out. Hitting head on wall now.

  2. The Cooking Ninja

    I love making some spices myself. I don’t grind the dried tiny chillies I had because that stuff is spicy and I get them fresh from my plant every now and then. I do however, make my own curry mixture or paste. They definitely taste better than prepackaged from the shelves.

  3. codfish

    Have you tried (successfully) to dry other peppers before? I’ve been wanting to dry some bird’s eye chiles (for shits and giggles I guess).

    So glad to have found your blog, Hank.

  4. Garrett

    That octopus is the money shot of food porn for the day right there.

  5. Garrett

    Elise, I did the same thing when I moved. Ugh. So pissed.

  6. Amy

    Did you try smoking the peppers? My favorite Spanish paprika is the smoked variety–hot or sweet, but it doesn’t stay fresh for very long.

  7. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife

    This is good to know. Thank you. I have some poblano chilis hanging around from last year, so I’ll try this. Too bad I didn’t smoke them. I’m growing them again this year though, so I’ll definitely smoke some.

    Like you, I’d do this because I can. Unlike you, I’ll probably do it consistently. Where I live, it’s no trivial thing to pick up ancho chili powder at the store, and man, do I love that stuff.

  8. Chris

    I’m growing Alma Paprika peppers in my garden this year, and I hope to be able to do the same thing. One word of caution, if you are planning on a perpetual supply, make sure you aren’t growing any other peppers. They may cross pollinate, and the seeds you save may not be viable. An excellent resource on seed saving is Suzanne Ashworth’s Seed to Seed. I highly recommend it.

  9. hank

    Elise: That’ll teach ya! But seriously, 3-year-old chiles will have lost quite a bit of their flavor, so you’re prolly OK.

    Codfish: Love your blog, too — especially as a Jersey boy. As for grinding bird’s eye chiles, I’d suggest a mask. The powder from them is essentially pepper spray. No bueno.

    Garrett: Bow-chicka-bow-wow!

    Amy: Nope. Making Pimenton is, for the moment, beyond me. Maybe I will try it next year…

    Kate: If I were in your shoes, I’d do the same thing. But it is easy to get good chile powders in California.

    Chris: Mine were Alma’s, too. And you are correct about cross-breeding. It doesn’t happen very often, but it is a hazard. To be certain, I grow a chile I want to save seed from (rocoto, in my case) in the front of the house, and all the others in the back…

  10. Mary

    I’ve done the same thing….tried things for shits & giggles…like tapping 2 maple trees this spring & producing about a quart or so of syrup from weeks worth of work. I also grow peppers every year…the ones that I end up drying are cayenne…nice thin skinned that would probably make great paprika. I have a handful I’m going to try..thanks for the inspiration. If I were to try to smoke some of this years crop…I’d smoke them, then dry them…right? Love your site..thank you for all the great reading & eating!

  11. Lang

    Do it because you can. A solid guiding principle to live by. I’m with you on it, but I fear homemade paprika won’t be on the to-do list up here in Seattle; I don’t even bother growing peppers, though it can be done with lots of TLC. Those are some lovely pictures and I bet the paprika tasted just as good as Hungarian, if different.

  12. Josh

    Very cool, and the octopus has me really really hungry now.

    Also, shits and peppers make for an explosive conversation, at least.

  13. Matt

    Hank,
    The yield of spice may not have been worth it but it was for the pictures, those are great.

    I hope I didn’t sound too bitter about the goat party, more of a envy really.
    Matt

  14. Buzzie

    Every time I grow those delicious paprikas they always mold on the inside. I cut them in half to dry now. There is nothing like real paprika. I just mortar and pestle them before a dish.

  15. Dan

    That sounds like quite a process. Too bad I don’t own a home and live in a relatively humid climate.

    But that octopus dish looked awesome.

  16. Mary Ann

    Just what I was looking for! I want to do it because I can, too! Can I use a coffee bean mill to grind the dried peppers? I’ve bought two at garage sales just to use for herbs and such. Thanks so much for the info.

  17. hank

    Mary Ann: Yes, you can use a coffee grinder for the dried peppers; that’s what I use..

  18. Headcook

    Here is one for you all. Take the chili’s, 2 lbs. fresh ones. Cut stems off. Cut into 1 inch pieces. Place in pot. Add 1-2 cups water. Bring to boil. Then let cool for a few minutes. Place in food processor. Blend on high to total pulp. Add some of the cooking water to thin. Add 1.5 TBL of sugar, 1-1-5 tsp kosher salt. Keep blending. Once done blending, strain this pulp thru a fairly fine strainer, then and add 4-6 Cups cider vinegar to it, or what ever one you want. Place back into pot with water, bring to quick boil then, turn off. Then take the left over pulp and lay it out on parchment paper and place it in either an oven or a dehydrator, and dry it to a bone dry feel.

    Now you have your own hot sauce and dried peppers, for later grinding in you wife’s fav coffee grinder :)

  19. Steve in Hungary

    Well, as you can see, I live in Hungary – LOTS of paprika. But like you wanted to have a bash at making my own so this year I have saved a load of peppers (the Hungarian paprika type) and they are ripening off and reddening up quite nicely. I did a search for “how to make paprika” and this site came out at No. 1.

    I just love the bit about experimenting at doing things. Much of the same mindset myself.

    Thanks for the info!

  20. dale

    Fantastic ! I grew 9 alma pepper plants this year in my Portland Or. garden. Upon harvest I smoked the peppers for six hours. whole, but cleaned out

    Then 2 days in the dehydrater and finally ground in blender and worked thru a fine strainer. What a great bid of fun and I have 2 cups of smoked paprika. cheers

  21. Penny

    I live in Sunny, Hot, Humid FL and the info here on drying is great. I too am going to make paprika…because a friend gave me the seeds in a swap & why not. I’ll try just about anything once. Great info! Thanks.

  22. vesna

    OMG – I LOVE THE INTERNET and at this moment, I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!

  23. David Hysom

    Great article, thanks! I’m gardening for the
    first time in my life, in a new community garden
    ( http://4thstreetgarden.blogspot.com/ )
    I have on pepper plant that was labeled “pimento,”
    and was trying to figure out what a pimento was.

    The plant is small (maybe the size of two fists,
    on on top of the other). It’s covered with tiny
    peppers (think: the size of a pencil eraser).
    The peppers are growing upwards from the stem,
    which is different from every other pepper plant
    I’ve seen. They’re a deep purple. And they’re
    medium to hot spicy.

    After reading your article I’m pretty sure they’re not
    pimentos, though have no idea what they might be.

  24. Donalyn

    I cut sweet red peppers into chunks and dry on the dehydrator and then grind in my high powered juicer and whala–paprika and it smells wonderful and has a rich full flavor.

  25. Pepper terminology | My Suburban Homestead

    […] can be either hot or sweet. It is a challenge to make, though I’ve never tried it. Check out this article if you are interested in attempting this […]

  26. Josh in Nashville, TN

    Dang, I bet that would be awesome in a ribrub. We grow quite a few peppers of sorts and have yet to try anything like this. How many peppers would you think would produce a cup of paprika?

  27. Hank

    Josh: I am thinking about a dozen or so, but it depends on size. So figure on 4-6 ounces of dried peppers.

  28. Jennifer

    I am growing paprika peppers for the first time. Do I let them become red on the plant or do they turn in the drying process?

  29. Hank Shaw

    Jennifer: You let them get red on the plant. They don’t really turn much in the drying process…

  30. Mike Lennard

    Great article. Here’s how I do it. First I make ristras about 16 inches long with red ripe serrano peppers and hang them in my pantry, which gets heated by my furnace, for about a year until they’re really dry. Then I pull the pods off, leaving the stems behind, and crush them by hand to get a feel for the moisture content., it should be quite low for good results. I then coarse chop the pods with a large knife before running them through the Cuisinart. I then pull out all the petiole pieces (where the pod attached to the plant) and other uncooperative bits, and continue the grinding process until it looks pretty much as your second picture shows.

    I also do this with applewood smoked serrano chiles. It’s less time consuming since the smoking process drives out most of the moisture for you. It takes about 16 to 18 hours of smoking to get them fully smoked, but then you need to let them air dry for about 6 to 8 weeks. Then follow the same process as above.

    I plan to try the air-dry method with a hot cherry bomb type chiles, my garden yielded about 25 lbs of these. My mentor says to cut these into thirds, remove the stems and seed and dry them outdoors in the shade (I’m in Colorado so this works well). If they are not dry enough when the weather stops cooperating, I will finish drying them in the oven at the lowest setting on baking trays. The side benefit of oven drying them is the whole house smells of wonderfull chiles!

  31. Mike Petri

    In my opinion the best way to dry out a bunch of Chiles is to place them in a brown paper bag and set the bag on top of the water heater. Unless yours has insulation wrapped around it, that tank will pump out excess heat ad infinitum. Peppers go from wet to completely dry in less than a month. ;)

  32. RC

    Thanks so much for the article! I’d been gardening for years when health problems took me away from it and now I’m back to it. “Back in the day” all bits and pieces of info was passed pretty much word of mouth, especially when it came to some of the Mediterranean peppers in my part of the country so I’m thoroughly enjoying the vast supply of info so many people are sharing online.

    We live in a pretty dry climate and we do our drying in the greenhouse on the side away from the sun. We have an old egg incubator that I’ve used as a dehydrator for years and with our summer temperatures we only have to use a little air for perfectly dried foods.

    P.S. I enjoyed everyone else’s comments too, many interesting ideas and tips to try, even talked hubby into (it didn’t take much convincing since he loves growing peppers more than anything else) to dig a smoker out of the shed so we can give smoking some a try. I’m still trying to figure out if it will be practical to dry all the peppers we need since we go through about ten pounds of various dried pepper seasonings a year.

  33. Tom Mehok

    I wonder if the Alton Brown herb dryer would spread up the drying time. He used a regular box fan with furnace filters to dry the herbs. Google it!

  34. steve iman

    Great thread. We grow lots of various kinds of peppers from bells to halapenos. Found a bunch of wilty-old discounted Hatch chills the other day and added them to the crop. Rinse, nit stems, and we trash most seed buds and throw them in the Masterbult smoker while other things are cooking for a couple of hours. Then we throw them in our Excalibur dehydrator for about ten hours at a low temperature, whip them in a Vitamix or Cuisinart, and let it go at that. Somebody in the thread suggested that paprika may lose flavor with age, but we are still using some of these chopped dried peppers kept in the freezer for three years or so, and believe me, not much has been lost;-) This may not be a strict paprika, but it follows your principle of insisting on using imagination. Someone mentioned using paprika in a rub, and our dried pepper combo is the core of the rub we use on ribs or spareribs cooked low and slow for ten hours or so. Yum;-)

  35. Karyl

    They will darken a lot from orange to deep red (Alma paprikas anyway), here in NE OHIO. I’ll make sure to split them open to increase drying, or just cut them and dry them in my oven which has about 100 degree gas pilot heat at all time.

  36. KathyAnne

    Hello! This year I’ve grown Pakri-K Sweet Red Paprika Peppers, not knowing they’d be thin-walled peppers, which I find less satisfying for using in recipes — although they’re OK if I pick and use them before they start drying out.

    Anyhow… your article above says “Seeds are no bueno.” which, translated means “no good.” Do you actually remove the seeds before making your paprika? Is there any easy way to do this?

    Thank you!

  37. Hank Shaw

    KathyAnne: Uh, yeah. Open the pepper and pull them out. Not hard at all.

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