of the genus Capsicum, all peppers, both sweet peppers and chili peppers,
are excellent sources of many essential nutrients, especially vitamin
C, by weight, green bell peppers have twice as much as citrus fruit
(red peppers have three times as much). Moreover, red peppers are quite
a good source of beta carotene. Found in a panorama of red, green, yellow,
and purple hues, sweet peppers are guaranteed to add visual zest to
Fresh peppers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colours,
but the guidelines for choosing them are practically the same. Peppers
should be well shaped, firm, and glossy. Their skins should be taut
and unwrinkled, and their stems fresh and green. Bell peppers are best
when they are thick walled and juicy, so they should feel heavy for
their size. Watch out for soft or sunken areas, slashes or black spots.
If a green bell pepper shows streaks of red, it will be slightly sweeter
than a totally green one; however, once picked, it won't get any redder,
Store unwashed sweet peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for
up to a week; green peppers will keep somewhat longer than red or other
ripe peppers. Check them frequently; immediately use any peppers that
have developed soft spots.
Wash peppers just before you use them. Some bell peppers are waxed,
and these should be scrubbed well before eating. If you are going to
cut the peppers into strips or pieces, cut the pepper lengthwise into
flat panels. Discard the stems, spongy cores, and seeds (which can have
a bitter taste). If you are using the pepper whole, cut the stem end
off and then discard the core and seeds. Or, for pepper halves, cut
the pepper in half lengthwise (not crosswise).
skin can be unpleasantly tough in cooked dishes; you can easily peel
peppers by blanching or roasting them. For most recipes, the various
colors of bell peppers are interchangeable (keep in mind that reds and
yellows are sweeter than green peppers).