PaprikaMolnár has just finished drying the freshly picked paprika fruits. The first grinds are ready and we have stocked up for winter. So it’s high time I did an assessment of this autumn’s harvest now.
Every paprika year is different and there’s always something that surprises the farmer and the processor. This year the rainy season set in on the day of Saint Medardus, 8 June, and it didn’t want to stop until one month later. The Szeged area is one of the driest areas in Hungary and normally we complain about lack of precipitation. This year we got as much rain in the first month of the summer as normally we get over a 6-month-period in other years. Too much water and cool weather made the paprika plants weak and frail and many farmers decided to remove the plants and plough the fields in the middle of July. Elsewhere fruit setting limited to the period between mid-July and August. As a result, the paprika yield all over the country is pretty low this year, making farmers very disappointed.
The rest of the summer we experienced other extreme conditions, too. July, August and September were unusually hot: ripening was super-quick, and the fruits became smaller and lighter, with thinner flesh and lower sugar-content. This year’s grinds are less sweet, less tasty as a result. Red pigment content seems stable but, nevertheless, don’t forget to keep your powder in a cool, dark, closed container.
The photos here show the different stages of post-harvest ripening and processing. In every respect this is the best time of the year and we love it. There is paprika in the air, which is sweet and piquant at the same time. And, the sight with all the bags full of nice, red fruits is simply unparalleled.
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