Botanical name/plant family: Capsicum annuum
Important practices: According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown bell peppers contain high levels of pesticide residues - look for organically grown peppers!
Harvest season: Summer
Great source of: Vitamin B6, Vitamin C (Excellent source!!! 97% DV in green peppers, and near 300% in red)
Storage methods: Store bell peppers in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
Cooking methods: I am crisp and sweet raw, though I also am great pickled, stuffed, grilled, sauteed, and stir fried! Roast me and remove my seeds for a delicious addition to sandwiches and salads, or puree me with garbanzo beans and tahini to make a flavorful hummus.
World cuisines: Bell peppers are indigenous to South/Central America, but were brought back to Europe in the 1400s by Christopher Columbus and incorporated into cuisines worldwide.
Pairings: I have a very distinct sweet flavor, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t pair well with savory ingredients. Serve me with onions, beans, lean pork, steak, zucchini, basil, salmon, and more!
- Unlike other members of the Capsicum family, bell peppers do not contain capsaicin, the compound that provides the pungency and kick to spicier varieties of peppers such as Serrano and Jalapeño.
- Peppers have genders! Those with 3 lobes on the bottom are female, while those with 4 are male. Female peppers are sweeter and have more seeds and are better eaten raw and in salads, while male peppers are less sweet and contain less seeds and are better stir fried or sauteed.
- All peppers begin as green peppers. Yellow red, and purple peppers are simply more ripened and therefore sweeter!