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Sweet Peppers

Sweet Pepper Sweet Bell Hybrid Mix
Sweet peppers are a versatile ingredient in many dishes.  Bell peppers are the most common of the sweet peppers here in the United States.  While they can be the star of the dish, as in stuffed peppers, more often they are used as an aromatic flavor enhancer.  In Louisiana cuisine, they are a part of “the trinity”, chopped onion, celery and peppers, and form the basis of many dishes.  Bell peppers are sweet in flavor and a basic produce essential.

SELECTION

Look for firm, glossy, smooth skinned peppers that are heavy for their size.  They should not have any soft spots, wrinkling or punctures or holes.  Green bell peppers are usually the immature fruit and have a sharper flavor (not hot) while the more mature fruit (red, yellow, chocolate) have a sweeter, more mild flavor.  

STORAGE

Store peppers in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for about a week.  Green peppers will store longer than more fully matured peppers.  Once cut, they will spoil more quickly so store in the refrigerator and use up within a couple of days.

PREPARATION

Wash peppers with running water and then the stems, ribs and seeds need to be removed.  If preparing whole, as for stuffing, cut around the stem at the top and pull out.  Pull out any large ribs with your fingers and rinse out any seeds.  If you are going to cut up the pepper, you can cut it in half and remove the parts with a knife or you can cut down each side of the stem, removing the “cheeks” and then trim any ribs with a knife.  

EDIBLE PARTS

The edible parts are the walls of the peppers.

HOW TO TRY

Sweet peppers are fun to use in dishes because they add a pop of color, especially the red and orange ones. 

Peppers are a part of “the trinity”, chopped onion, celery and peppers, which is used as a flavor base for many soups, stews, braises and sauces.

Peppers can be sautéed with other vegetables and/or proteins.  This is the basis for dishes such as pepper steak, fajitas, sausages with onions and peppers or pasta with peppers.

They also make a good flavor addition to stir fried vegetables and dishes such as sweet and sour chicken.

Peppers are great for stuffing and baking.  You can use rice or pasta mixtures or bread cube and meat mixtures.

Add peppers to kebab skewers to grill.

Raw peppers are great additions to salads, pasta salads or vegetable trays, especially the mature ones which are sweeter.

They also are good in relishes like pepper relish and chow-chow.

Roasted peppers are a good addition to dips and sandwiches and can be pureed into a creamy soup.  Broil the peppers until the skin blisters and turns black.  Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for a few minutes and then rub the skin off with a paper towel.

VARIETIES

Bell peppers come in many varieties and colors.  They all start green but may turn purple, brown, black, white, orange, yellow or red as they more fully mature depending on the variety.   Peppers can be three, four or five lobed and can vary in shape from short and blocky to more elongated.   Sweet peppers also come in mini forms and long, narrow forms.  (Just be sure to look for sweet on the label or ask the seller at the market to make sure they are sweet!)   There are also other varieties of sweet peppers.  These have a little more flavor/heat than bell peppers but are not hot like hot peppers/chiles/chili peppers.  The sweet peppers include pimento, sweet banana, sweet cherry peppers and frying peppers like Cubanelle.

Nutrition Label Green Bell Pepper
Excellent source of Vitamin C.
Good source of Vitamin B6.
Season Chart Bell Peppers

Videos:

Pasta Stuffed Pepper
Pasta Stuffed Peppers