44th National Táncház Festival & Fair • 4–6 April 2025
Starting page: 16
The story of Szeged’s paprika – This article discusses history and processes of paprika growing, production and distribution in Hungary. Based on their experience growing tobacco (introduced during the Turkish occupation), Szeged farmers were prepared for growing and processing paprika. The first written data on paprika production is from the end of the 18th century. Paprika is an annual plant started from seedlings near the house which are planted later on in the fields. Traditionally the paprika was ready for harvest by September 8, then came the processes of drying and grinding. As time went on the spicy paprika was seperated out from the sweet paprika and machines were invented to assist the processes. When Szeged couldn’t keep up with the demand for paprika, other villages in the Kalocsa/Decs area began to produce paprika too. By the end of the 1800s America began to acquire a taste for paprika, then Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany. Under Socialism the main market for Hungarian paprika became the Soviet Union. Long ago paprika was consumed not only for its taste, but for its medicinal properites. It is mentioned as useful for treating a Hungarian strain of malaria, for cholera, and as an aid to digestion. It gained popularity as a spice in times when black pepper wasn’t available. By Werschitz Annamária.