Monday, January 16, 2006

Found Spice

It was a cold day in the city, but my pockets warmed when I found this seemingly brand-new container of paprika on the bridge at Fort Hamilton Parkway running over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (aka Interstate 278).

Of course, anyone with enough sense to use paprika in my home will be loathe to use this, and the 2.12 ounces of seemingly fine spice will more than likely be discarded. I mean, I did find this on the sidewalk and, I must admit, the most interesting thing about this is the disclaimer on the back of the label that announces: "SILICON DIOXIDE (ADDED TO MAKE FREE FLOWING)."

Wikipedia, an amazing online resource, states that silicon dioxide, or silica "is also used as a food additive, primarily as a flow agent in powdered foods, or to absorb water."

Here are some other fun facts about paprika (all courtesy of

Paprika is noted for its high vitamin C content (150 to 250 mg/100 g). In fact, vitamin C was first isolated (by Hungarian cientist Albert Szent-Györgyi) from Hungarian paprika.

Peru is probably the world's leading producer of paprika, exporting as much as 75,000 metric tons in 2005. The United States, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Hungary are significant producers as well. The United States is the world's leading consumer of paprika, consuming as much as 40,000 metric tons in 2005.

In the United States, California, New Mexico and western Texas are the main producers.

If you are ever traveling to Hungary, you should visit the Pick Salami and Szeged Paprika Museum in Szeged.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

cool post.

Your glance at Wikipedia reminded me of something you might get a kick of. Check out the entry for Capt'n Crunch (sp?) when you get a chance.I especially like the debate about the shapes of the cereal, the likely lacerations and the phreaking bits.