Wake up your palate with Capsicum and Paprika!

Imagine walking into the vegetable section of any supermarket – the first thing that catches your eye in the colourful display is the Bell Pepper - green, orange, yellow, and red ! Well some say Bell Pepper and some say Capsicum…

Actually there is no difference between Bell Pepper and Capsicum. It is capsicum in India, New Zealand, and Australia. In the U.S. and Canada, the large capsicum is known as a bell pepper.  In UK, it is called red pepper or green pepper or chili pepper or even sweet pepper. All bell peppers start out green and change color as they mature. Red, green, yellow or orange, they all are essentially just green capsicums that have been allowed to ripen. The longer the fruit stays on the vine, the sweeter it becomes and the more nutritional value it gains.

Is Capsicum actually a vegetable or a fruit ? Surprise, Surprise -  it is a fruit and how do we know? Since it bears seeds that help in propagation, we can be sure it is a fruit. Vegetables originate from all the other parts of a plant such as its roots, leaves and the stem whereas fruits develop from the ovary of a flowering plant.

Capsicum - any of several tropical plants, of the genus Capsicum, principally the species Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens, that are cultivated as edible peppers. The yellow, orange and red colours of paprika fruit originate from carotenoids and the pigments are synthesised during ripening. Capsicum types are usually classified by fruit characteristics such as pungency and colour. It contains coloring pigments, pungent principles, resin, protein, cellulose, vitamins, minerals and a small amount of volatile and non-volatile oils.

Flavours are captured in our sauces, marinades, meats and most ready-to eat/ready-to-cook convenience products by applying spices in the form of extracts or oleoresins. Oleoresins can be defined as the true essence of the spices and can replace whole/ground spices without impairing any flavour and aroma characteristics. Spice oleoresins guarantee superior quality of flavour and aroma because they are complete and balanced, consistent and standardised.  It provides the concentrated essence of the respective spice – up to 5-20 times the actual spice in terms of flavour and colour. They represent the complete flavour profile of the spice.

Paprika oleoresin provides colour in food applications. Chilli oleoresins are not just used in food – they have pharmaceutical applications too, due to their anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.

Capsicum oleoresin is formed after the extraction process of capsaicin using organic solvent from varieties of Capsicum annuum with higher pungency. It is commonly used as a culinary spice and for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. A rich source of vitamin A and C, capsicum is great for metabolism. The Scoville scale is a measurement of the pungency and indicates the value of capsaicinoids. There are at least 22 known types of capsaicinoids; each type found in the given pepper is measured individually by the HPLC method, and an overall total is reported in American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) units.

But then what is Paprika ? Paprika is the powdered spice made from dried and ground fruits of mainly Capsicum annuum with less pungency and higher colour value. Paprika oleoresin is obtained, by percolation with a solvent, and is primarily used as a natural colouring and/or flavouring in food products. It is a thick, red viscous liquid and the major colouring principles are capsanthin and capsorubin. Vegetable oil is then added to ensure a uniform colour saturation. It is much milder than capsicum oleoresin, with little or no capsaicin. It is primarily used where no pungency is desired - like cheese, processed lunchmeats, sausages, soups, sauces, and snacks such as potato chips etc. The most commonly sought after colour value is 40,000 CU to 120,000 CU. Paprika is supposed to be very beneficial against the auto-immune and inflammatory problems as it relieves body pain, swelling and even lowers blood pressure. Capsaicin present in paprika is helpful in relaxing blood vessels and thereby lowering blood pressure.

BHOOMI offers both Paprika and Capsicum Extracts as per customer specification.

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