As I pondered what new, tasty and fun food to bring to this weeks “spotlight” post I couldn’t help but laugh a little at my choice. This weeks spotlight being on the bell pepper family.
You see, growing up, and even well into adulthood, peppers were not on my favored list. I found them to be a bit bitter and not very tasty. I could tolerate them on a supreme pizza buried under tomato sauce and cheese and that’s about where our relationship ended.
Growing up my mom would whip up stuffed peppers for dinner occasionally. Those nights were the least of my favorite meals to put it mildly. It was up there with liver and onions as far as tastiness to me. And yeah, she made that too. I’m just gagging at the memory of it…bleh…
Anyway, I grew up a little more and realized there were other colors of peppers out there and weirdly, they didn’t taste as bland, bitter, not tasty, whatever adjective to use here.
Oh no. In fact, they were quite tasty. And the red became my most favorite as I found myself nibbling on them when making salads or just grabbing them for a snack.
There’s a reason for the taste difference
Do you know the bell pepper, all of it’s colors, is actually just one pepper?
Yeah, that little factoid blew me away too.
The green pepper is the least mature and is picked first. Because it isn’t ripe it has more bitter taste, is less sweet and has fewer nutrients. The green pepper is most purchased of all the colors and it’s also the cheapest. Cheapest ’cause Mr. Farmer has to spend the least time tending it.
As the pepper continues to mature on the vine, it turns to yellow and orange in the ripening process. The yellow is quite similar to the orange one. They aren’t as bitter as green but aren’t as sweet as the red. The yellow and orange are “in between” peppers. Which you choose to use in dishes is largely a personal preference. The orange does have thick flesh and is sweeter than the green pepper.
Finally, the red pepper. It is the sweetest of all peppers because it has stayed on the vine the longest and is fully matured. It’s also why colored peppers are more expensive. They require more care and attention from the farmer before harvest.
The red pepper also packs an impressive amount of vitamins and nutrients the other peppers don’t. Red peppers contain a whopping amount of beta-cartone over the other peppers, 11 times more! They also contain two times more Vitamin C and 10 times more Vitamin A than the green pepper.
Red peppers also have a shorter shelf life. So with all these factors in mind, you can see why they are also the more costly.
Oh…but they are so worth it.
I was in the store one day buying some red ones. They were huge and a deep vibrant shade of red.
They screamed good health. They screamed “take me home and eat me!” haha
I guess I was kinda petting them and admiring their beauty when hubby said…
“you know you’re talking to peppers”
Uh… yeah… I knew that. They were just so pretty. And cheap.
And I’m weird.
It was one of those days and they were well under the 1.00 per pepper price so I was loading up on them.
The 411 on bell peppers
The cool thing about almost all veggies? You can eat so much for virtually no calories.
One medium pepper is only 24 calories! Not to mention it’s loaded with tons of Vitamin C, B 6 and Vitamin A.
You know, all that stuff that’s good for you and makes you look healthy .
All peppers are high sources of potassium. This mineral helps keep your fluids and minerals balanced in your body, enhancing muscle function, and regulating blood pressure.
The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.
The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.
Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.
Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.
Now let’s eat!
Now I personally still don’t think of stuffed bell peppers as one of my most favorite dinner options, although hubby loves them. So it was a bit of a surprise when my daughter in law recently requested them for her birthday dinner.
They are simple to make and certainly looked beautiful…. I’ll add the recipe at the end.
Ok, in all fairness, these were good. And the fam wolfed them down. I’ll let you try and see if you like them.
Oh, and besides the big peppers, do you know you can buy bags of little red, yellow and orange peppers? They are so cute… I chop them into salads or use them in my breakfast of sautéed veggies… or just eat them as is.
I did come across a recipe for stuffed cheese ones the other day. I haven’t tried yet, but I’ll share here at the end as well.
Of course, peppers are delicious roasted, grilled, sautéed or used in salads or other dishes, There really are endless, healthy and tasty options for them.
I’m eager to try this recipe with these baby peppers….
the green pepper is unripened and is less sweet and has the least nutrients of all colors. It is also the cheapest and most purchased of all peppers.
The orange/ yellow pepper is more mid-range, having a sweeter flavor and more nutrients.
The red pepper is the sweetest as it stays on vine till fully ripened. It also packs the most nutritional punch of all peppers. It is more costly due to longer vine time ( but oh so worth it!)
Oh and a fun fact….Bell peppers are related to tomato, potato, tobacco, eggplant, and petunia.
Ok you’re turn, tell me. Do you like peppers? If so how do you prefer them?