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Leutschauer Paprika Chile Pepper
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|Loo Loo Farms|
Leutschauer Paprika pepper plants are short, erect plants that grow fast and very productive. The green peppers mature to a bright red and average nearly three inches long and one and a half inches wide. Leutschauer peppers are very uniform in shape and have thin walls, which are ideal for a drying pepper. Inside, the pepper has a very large seed ball, and quite a few seeds. Leutschauer Paprika peppers have a mild heat and in its dried form is smoky and spicy sweet. Fresh peppers are considered very flavorful and have a sweet aroma and crisp texture. The heat level of the Leutschauer Paprika pepper is under 1,000 Scoville Heat Units, which is roughly equivalent to a cubanelle or banana pepper.
Where available, the Leutschauer Paprika is generally harvested in the mid-to-late summer months and through the fall.
The Leutschauer Paprika pepper is a rare heirloom variety of paprika pepper, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum. The old pepper variety from Hungary is not often found outside of its native region, though some small farms in the southeastern United States have been experimenting with heirloom pepper varieties for their farmer’s markets. Seeds for this pepper are only available from a few sources. Leutschauer Paprika peppers are traditionally dried and used to make a spicy chile powder, or ‘paprika’.
All members of Capsicum annuum contain high amounts of vitamin C, as well as vitamins A and B-complex. The bright red color of the Leutschauer Paprika peppers comes from phytonutrients in the fruits called carotenoids, which provide strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The presence of capsaicin in the peppers also provides potential cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.
Leutschauer Paprika peppers are most often dried and ground into powder, and sometimes blended with other powdered chiles. When fresh, the small peppers can be stuffed, or sliced and sautéed. The mild spice is well-suited for making a pepper jelly. Roast and puree Leutschauer Paprika peppers for a spicier version of red pepper coulis. Roasting or drying the pepper brings out the spiciness and the smoky flavor. Dry Leutschauer Paprika peppers to preserve them for up to six months. Fresh peppers will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The word “paprika” came from the Latin peperi or piper, for pepper, which had its origins in Sanskrit. Before Christopher Colombus came to the New World and brought peppers back with him, the word ‘pepper’ was more closely associated with black pepper, botanically known as Piper nigrum. Peppers of the Capsicum annuum variety were brought to Hungary by the Ottoman or Turkish soldiers. The first peppers grown for the spice Hungary is famous for, were first grown in 1529 by the Turks in what is now Budapest. The first use of the English word “paprika” was in 1896, which came from Hungary and was a derivative of the Slovakian or Croatian word "papar."
The Leutschauer Paprika pepper is originally from Leutschau, Slovakia, where it got its common name. It was brought south to the small city of Matrafured in the Matra mountains of northern Hungary in the 1800s, where it is still widely grown today. Leutschauer Paprika peppers grow abundantly in a wide variety of conditions though they do prefer temperate climates. The Hungarian peppers have a longer season, with fruits in various stages of maturity on the plant at one time. The heirloom plant is disease and drought resistant and is a favorite of home gardeners. Outside of Hungary, look for Leutschauer Paprika peppers at local farmer’s markets.