Bell peppers are a fleshy, water-rich warm season crop that impart a mild yet slightly sweet flavor to savory dishes. They are known to be a part of the nightshade/vegetable family but are botanically distinguished as fruits. You can find them in many different colors: green, yellow, orange, red, and dark purple. Technically, they are all from the same plant but just picked at varying degrees of ripeness- the warm colored peppers will be sweeter than their green counterparts. Peppers originate from Mexico and Central America, so they are a common ingredient in cultural dishes. They were actually brought to Europe by Christopher Columbus.
Red bell peppers have the highest phytonutrient content because they have been left on the vine to reach peak ripeness.
- Fiber important for digestive health and keeps you feeling full
- Vitamin C important for the immune system, healthy skin, and wound healing
- Potassium helps lower blood pressure and helps muscles contract
- Vitamin A important for vision, bone development, and immune function
- Folate important for preventing neural tube defects and may help prevent cancer
How to Shop
Bell peppers should be firm to touch and not leave a dent when they have been held. Their skin will be shiny and bright pigmented with green stems. Size varies.
How to Grow
When: 8-10 weeks before last frost. Soil temp needs to be around 70F. It is recommended to start them indoors then transplant. Growing duration in 60-90 days.
Where: An area with full sunlight, well-draining soil that is loamy, and with fertilizer and/or compost.
How: Plant seeds 1.4 inch deep and 18-24 inches apart. Water 1-2 inches/week or everyday if in dry climate.
Harvest: When desired size and color are reached.
How to Store
Can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.