The bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper or capsicum, is of the species Capsicum annuum
and native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Bell peppers are botanically fruits, but in culinary contexts they are usually considered to be vegetables.
Not only are bell peppers delicious to eat and beautiful to look at, but they are also packed with nutritional benefits. All bell peppers are high in vitamin C with the red pepper having more than twice as much as the green pepper. The bell pepper is also a wonderful source of vitamin A, vitamin B, antioxidants and carotenoids.
So load up and enjoy this wonderful combination of taste, looks and benefits!
How to Select Bell Peppers
Bell peppers can be bought year-round, but they are most abundant and tasty during the months of August and September. Colors range from the burgeoning colors of green to yellow, and ripen to the sweeter-tasting colors of red, orange, and sometimes purple and brown, depending on the variety.
Picking a good pepper is easy: they should have a smooth and tight skin (no wrinkles, or soft or bruised spots), plus bright color, and feel firm and solid. A look at the stem is another place to peek: it should appear fresh, green, and not dry or desiccated.
How to Store Bell Peppers
Don’t wash a pepper until use: ideally store unwashed peppers in a cool place covered with a kitchen towel, or second best is in the vegetable compartment in your refrigerator (but not in plastic, which will create excess moisture). Some even freeze them, either whole, or cleaned, deseeded, and chopped.