Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

paprika consists of the dried ground fruits of Capsicum annuum, the mild capsicum fruit, often called pimento. Although the Capsicum species originated in the New World, the particular varieties used to make paprika were developed in Europe, especially in Hungary. The first paprika peppers to reach Hungary are thought to have been introduced by Bulgarians, who had them from Turkey. The earliest reference to them in a Hungarian dictionary, according to Lang (1971), was in 1604, when the name used was ‘Turkish pepper’. The name ‘paprika’, which is derived from the Latin piper (pepper) through Slavic diminutive forms (pepperke, piperka), did not come into currency until 1775.