Are There Bugs In Your Paprika?

Don’t bug out, but you really should give your paprika a closer look before you toss it into your next recipe. It could be totally fine, but it could also be a cozy home to a colony of insects.

There are all sorts of pantry pests that can invade your kitchen. You may have heard about flour beetles that eat their way out of bags of flour and multiply by the hundreds. (I once returned from Thanksgiving vacation to find this delightful surprise in my kitchen.) You’ll also find insects in spices, and among the most susceptible to insect manifestation are pepper-based spices like paprika, cayenne and chili powder.

Many cooks know the horror of opening a jar of paprika to find it moving. Sometimes the culprits are tiny bugs, while other times it’s little worms (more on that below). Often you won’t even notice them if you’re not looking closely, and then BAM, you’ve unknowingly sprinkled them into your food.

How do these creepy crawlers get into our spices, and what we can do to prevent them from getting there? And why are spices like paprika and cayenne more susceptible than others? We’ve got the answers here.

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