Bell pepper is a great ingredient that goes by a few names. Some folks refer to them as a “pepper” or a “sweet pepper” while others call them “capsicum.” They come in a whole host of colors. Think green, red, yellow, orange, white and even purple.
Are you ready to have your mind proverbially blown? Bell peppers are actually a fruit despite their characterization as a vegetable. They are closely related to all those other spicy peppers you see on the shelves. Turns out they are just milder and crunchier.
You can find these babies in the grocery store year-round, but if you want a real treat, head to your farmers market during the summer all the way to September and get some that are grown locally. Their flavor can’t be beaten.
When picking out your bell peppers, look for those with smooth outer skin. Dimples, divots, bruises, and soft spots are best avoided. The stem should be green and they should be a little heavy for their size.
Here’s another crazy fact for you. All unripe bell peppers are green. Are you grabbing some green peppers for this evening’s dinner recipe? Those are technically unripe and are a little more bitter in terms of flavor.
The orange and yellow peppers are getting closer to being ripe. The red is technically when the bell pepper is at its peak ripeness. The riper, the sweeter their flavor gets.
Bell peppers are incredibly versatile and you will find them being used in a wide range of cuisines from Chinese to Cajun to Italian and more!
Here are some amazing recipes using bell pepper:
- Rainbow French Bread Pizza
- Easy Orange Chicken
- Turkey Stuffed Peppers
- New Orleans Gumbo
- Cowboy Caviar Dip
Are bell peppers healthy?
Yes! They are low in calories and are about 92% water. Each serving has a good amount of fiber as well as Vitamins C, B6, K1, E and A, potassium and folate.
How long do bell peppers keep?
Generally, they can last about a week (sometimes two) if left whole. Once you chop them or slice them, you have about 2-3 days to use them.
How do I get rid of the seeds inside?
You have a few options here. If you are serving the pepper whole by stuffing it, I like to slice off the top and scoop the seeds and white membrane out. If you are serving them in quarters or in slices, I halve them lengthwise and use a small paring knife to get rid of the seeds
It should be noted, that if there are a few seeds (or some membrane) left behind, they are perfectly safe to consume. I wouldn’t leave a ton in there however as they can be bitter.
Why is the red variety more expensive?
This has to do with the fact that red bell pepper is fully ripe. Because it spends more time on the vine, it takes up more real estate and is, therefore, more expensive than say the green or even the orange or yellow varieties at the store.