Where is paprika cultivated?
Olam's paprika is grown in New Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Our proprietary paprika seed is grown by farmer partners who have been working with us for decades â€” these grower partnerships are at the center of Olam's agricultural expertise.
We begin harvesting our chilies in September, starting in the southernmost region and working our way north, through December. Once harvested, the chilies are brought to Olamâ€™s processing facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico for cleaning, washing and drying.
Once dried, the chilies are ground into powder and stored in Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and kept in cold storage to preserve the color and flavor. When producing the finished goods, we blend batches of ground paprika to match a desired ASTA level. The ASTA level determines the amount of color that is extracted in oil or fat, the larger the number the brighter the color.
Applications for paprika
So, when can I use paprika? Paprika has many applications, including:
- As a coloring agent in a final application
- Adding color to sausage or plant-based proteins
- To season and color rice dishes, stews and soups
- To dye eggs and clothing
- Sprinkled as a garnish
History of paprika
Paprika is made from varieties of the plant Capsicum annuum. It's origins can be traced to the Antilles Islands, Central America and southern Mexico, where it has been cultivated for centuries. It is believed that paprika was introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus after he discovered it in the New World.
At first, it was only used to decorate gardens of nobility in Europe before its true properties were utilized. It has been used throughout history as a seasoning and as medicine. Paprika is first mentioned in recorded English history in 1896.