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Beautiful Bell Peppers

How to select and cook with sweet peppers

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In North America, the term sweet pepper covers a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the chile, belong to the capsicum family. The “Bell” pepper is a sweet pepper, named for its bell-like shape. They have a mild, sweet flavor and scent with crisp juicy flesh. Immature bell peppers are a rich, bright green, but there are also yellow, orange, purple, red and brown bell peppers. Red bell peppers are green bell peppers that have ripened longer and are very sweet. The red heart-shaped pimiento is another popular sweet pepper. Pimientos are the familiar red stuffing found in green olives. Other sweet pepper varieties include cachucha, European sweet, bull horn (thin, curved and green); Cubanelle (long, tapered, yellow to red); and sweet banana pepper (long, yellow, banana-shaped).

All varieties of bell peppers are classified as “sweet” and register “zero” on the Scoville heat scale. What’s the Scoville heat scale?

How to select:
Bell peppers are available all year. Their skin should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. They should feel heavy for their size. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.

How to store:

Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.

How to prepare:
Bake, broil, grill, roast, stew.
Always remove the seeds and membrane. The membrane is inside. It’s white and bitter tasting.

Matches well with: anchovies, basil, chiles, coriander, corn, garlic, lemon, meat, olive oil, onions, rice, tomatoes, rice, vinegar

Uses: Great in salads, for sauces, in pastas, in sandwiches, stuffed for a main course.

Red bell peppers add color to such dishes as:
• Corn
• Salads
• Rice
• Soups
• Pizza
• Pasta

• For recipes that require small quantities, use jarred pimientos instead.

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