I've always thought it would be fun, not to mention cool, to make my own paprika from peppers I grew myself. Call me a kid with a crazy dream, but last weekend that dream came true.
Last spring while leafing through the Territorial Seed Catalogue, I came across their blurb for Alma Peppers. "Grow your own paprika seasoning!" it gushed. "Alma is one of the best paprika-type peppers for drying and grinding." I had to try it.
The peppers were finally mature last week. I got five or six from the one plant I'd put in, cut them up and laid them out on the screens of the food dehydrator DeGroot had picked up at a garage sale years ago. Eight hours later I had a tray of brilliantly red shrivelled pepper shreds.
Next I put them into the old blade coffee grinder I use for spices and ground them up. There's always a few that don't grind up as finely, so I sifted the contents of the grinder through a fine mesh strainer and then re-ground the bigger pieces. I did this about 3 times before it was uniform enough to suit me.
The stuff has a much stronger "paprika" flavor than I've tasted before. Sweet and peppery though not at all hot. Of course I didn't get much, less than a quarter cup. Next year I plan to put in at least ten plants and produce the stuff in volume.
"A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika" –Diana Vreeland