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Colored Peppers

Bell pepper or sweet pepper is a cultivar group of the species Capsicum annuum (chili pepper). Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow and orange. The fruit is also frequently consumed in its unripe form, when the fruit is still green. Bell peppers are sometimes grouped with less pungent pepper varieties as "sweet peppers". Peppers are native to Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Pepper seeds were later carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread to other European, African and Asian countries. Today, Mexico remains one of the major pepper producers in the world.

Hot House Colored Peppers are hydroponically-grown bell peppers. Grown in a greenhouse without toxic herbicides, the peppers come in three varieties: red, yellow and orange. Sweeter and richer in nutrients than the common bell pepper, their thick, juicy skin adds a delicious crunch to salads and sandwiches.

A wonderful combination of tangy taste and crunchy texture, bell peppers are the Christmas ornaments of the vegetable world with their beautifully shaped glossy exterior that comes in a wide array of vivid colors ranging from green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown to black.

Varieties

The color can be green, red, yellow, orange and more rarely, white, rainbow (this is because it is between stages of ripening) and purple, depending on when they are harvested and the specific cultivar. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly more bitter than red, yellow or orange peppers. The taste of ripe peppers can also vary with growing conditions and post-harvest storage treatment; the sweetest are fruit allowed to ripen fully on the plant in full sunshine, while fruit harvested green and after-ripened in storage are less sweet.

Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene. The level of carotene, another antioxidant, is nine times higher in red peppers. Red peppers also have twice the vitamin C content of green peppers.

Orange bell peppers (or paprikas) contain even more vitamin C and significantly more vitamin A . Orange bell peppers are both juicy and sweet, and because they contain less than half the calories of an orange, orange bell peppers are pre-eminently appropriate as a refreshing, low-calorie food, both raw, or prepared in any dish. They can be eaten raw without having indigestion later.

What color bell pepper is better for you to eat?

Choose red bell peppers for their high levels of antioxidant vitamins A and C which help protect cells from free radicals. One cup of chopped red peppers contains three times the minimum amount of vitamin C and nearly 100 percent of the vitamin A recommended for a typical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. Green and yellow peppers fall short in vitamin A. All peppers are naturally fat free and low calorie, and they contain three grams of fiber per chopped cup, making them excellent snacks or mealtime fillers.

Select peppers that have smooth, taut skin. Avoid peppers with wrinkles, blemishes, cuts or dark spots. Both the pepper and its stem should be bright in color. The stem should also appear sturdy and fresh. Healthy hot house peppers are heavy for their size.

Recipes

Other recipes from Produce Pete.

   

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