It is hard to describe peppers as summer food since they are available all year and in fairly good quality, but peppers grow in warm climates and are best in the summer bought at a farmers market from the grower. Red, yellow, orange, purple and green, sweet bel peppers are indispensable part of summer cooking. Chopped into salads, cut in strips for a stir fry, roasted over open flame, stuffed with grains and baked or simply cut and served with dips, this is a versatile veggie that adapts to many preparations and is easy to handle.
When buying peppers look for those with firm and glossy skin, no blemishes and thick flesh. The stem should look fresh and green and the pepper should feel weighty in your hand, which indicates that the moisture content is still high. You don’t have to discard the white membrane, they contain both flavour and nutritional content.
Here are a few peppery facts:
- Peppers are native to central america and were taken back to Europe by Christopher columbus who is believed to have given them their name.
- Mexico and China are the largest growers of peppers worldwide.
- Botanically peppers are considered fruits because they have seeds and grow on a flowering plant (same as tomatoes).
- Green peppers are immature peppers that will turn yellow, orange and then red as the grow.
- The more ripe the pepper, the higher the vitamin content.