Bell Peppers come from the capsicum family and are available all year round with peak season being July through September.They are often associated with Mediterranean cuisine and add a vibrancy and sweetness to many dishes.
They come in different colors like :
Red peppers are simply mature green peppers.
The yellow and orange peppers are a different, sweeter variety.Bell Peppers : How to choose, store and prepare Click To Tweet
How to choose Bell Peppers :
- When shopping, search for brightly colored ones with a firm skin that yields to slight pressure- skin will shine!
- Make sure their stems are green in color.
- They will be heavy for their size.
- Avoid the ones with bruises, soft spots, or shriveled skin.
- If growing in your garden, note that the sweetness increases the longer sweet peppers remain on plants and heat increases as hot peppers remain on plants.
How to store Bell Peppers :
- Refrigerate them unwashed, in a loose or meshed plastic bag in the vegetable drawer. This will keep them fresh & crisp. Spread out the peppers as much as possible. If the drawer is tightly packed, they may not last as long.
- Do not keep them in the same drawer as fruits. Fruits release a gas called ethylene, which can cause vegetables to rot faster.
- Keep them dry, as moisture will eventually cause them to rot.
- Press lightly against the pepper’s skin with your fingertips. If the skin is firm and smooth, the pepper is still good.
- If it feels slightly spongy or wrinkled, you can cook the pepper, but don’t eat it raw.
- If the pepper is slimy or very soft, toss the pepper.
- If you notice any mold on your peppers, throw them out, no matter how long you have had them.
- Shelf life: Red and yellow peppers will last four to five days; green, about a week.
Chop and use
If you must chop the peppers before use, then:
- Wrap the chopped peppers in a paper towel. The paper towel will keep them from getting too slimy or damp in the refrigerator.
- Place the chopped peppers in the drawer or top shelf of the fridge. Since the peppers are already chopped and sealed in a container, they do not necessarily need to be in the drawer.
- Throw chopped peppers out after 3 days.
Freeze and use
If you need to freeze the Bell Peppers, for later use through the year, then:
- Slice or chop the bell peppers before freezing. They only freeze well when they have been chopped first.
- Spread them on a cookie sheet or tray. Arrange the chopped pieces in a single layer. Do not stack them on top of one another or they might stick together when frozen.
- Freeze the cookie sheet for 1 hour. Slide the cookie sheet into the freezer. Make sure nothing is on top of or touching the peppers. After an hour, remove the tray from the freezer
- Place the frozen peppers in a freezer bag or airtight container. Use freezer bags for the best results. After you place the peppers inside, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag.
- Write the date on the plastic bag or container using a marker. Bell peppers will last up to a year in the freezer. If they start to look discolored or wrinkled, throw them out.
- Thaw the peppers if you want to eat them raw. To defrost the peppers move them to the fridge a day before you need them. You can also use the defrost setting on your microwave.
- Cook the peppers while they are still frozen. Do not thaw the peppers if you are going to cook them. Instead, just go ahead and toss them into your recipe.
- You can freeze roasted or raw bell peppers
- Unlike other vegetables, bell peppers do not need to be blanched before they are frozen.
- Peppers can be canned or dried to preserve them.
Health Benefits of Bell Peppers :
- Bell peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin A and C and a good source of Vitamin E and Vitamin B6.
- The red variety have the highest amount of Vitamin C.
- Red bell peppers are also full of phytochemicals and carotenoids, like beta-carotene, that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- The capsaicin in bell peppers can reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, control diabetes, bring relief from pain and ease inflammation
How to use them in cooking
- Peppers stand up well to grilling, baking, and sautéing.
- Roasting makes them smoky.
- They can be eaten raw, roasted, stuffed or marinated.
- The stem and seeds of a bell pepper should be removed before preparing for a recipe.
- If stuffing the bell pepper or using whole, cut around the stem on the top of the pepper, remove and scoop out seeds.
- You can also cut the pepper in half and cut out the stem and seeds before slicing or chopping.
Links to our recipes using bell peppers/capsicum
- Bell Pepper /Capsicum Rice
- Red Bell Pepper Coconut Chutney
- Green Bell Pepper Chutney
- Bell Pepper Bhaji
- Carrot Paniyaram
- Spicy Chinese Style Mussel Fry
- Kadai Mushroom
- Sweet and Sour Lychee Chicken
- Thai Spring Rolls
- Thai Style Spicy Chicken Fry
- Hoisini style Spicy Chicken
- Mushroom Tikka Masala
- Spinach and Prawn Gravy (Malabar Style)
- Chicken Shawarama
- Spicy Skewered Prawns
With so many choices of recipes to try from, let us know how you are going to use bell peppers in your recipes?
Are you going to give one of our recipes a try?
Share with us what you enjoyed learning about in this blogpost.