When the Bell Peppers are Sweetly Ringing

Sweet, crunchy, and boldly colored, the bell pepper is a versatile summer vegetable. With origins in Central America and South America, the Europeans were not introduced to the bell pepper until Columbus brought them back from his adventures in 1493. Like many other culinary vegetables, the bell pepper, also called a sweet pepper, is actually a botanical fruit belonging to the Capiscum genus in the nightshade family. Unlike its spicy cousins, the bell pepper is the only Capiscum that does not produce capsaicin. Capsaicin is the naturally occurring chemical compound responsible for the burning sensation caused by hot peppers like jalapeños and habaneros, hence why the bell pepper is so mild-mannered in its absence.

Bell peppers are available in a variety of colors: green, yellow, orange, red, brown, white, lavender, and dark purple. Green peppers are sometimes called unripened bell peppers because the fruit would eventually turn yellow, orange, or red if left to mature longer on the plant. Due to their immaturity, green peppers tend to be a little bitter and lack the sweetness associated with red peppers. The extra time it takes for the red color and sweetness to mature comes with a heftier price tag, too, which you’ve probably noticed when you’re out shopping for produce. Regardless of color, a bell pepper is composed of about 92% water and chock full of vitamins and antioxidants.

Grilled, roasted, marinated, charred, pureed, stuffed, baked, jellied, or raw – you can do anything with a bell pepper. Now let’s get cooking:

Charred Pepper Tacos
Cucumber-Pepper Slaw
Four Pepper Jelly
Portuguese Red Pepper Paste
Mallorcan Red Pepper Tart
Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta
Tofu and Peppers with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Eggplant and Peppers with Feta
Polenta-Stuffed Peppers
Roasted Pepper Salad
Garlic-Pepper Sauce
Zucchini, Bell Pepper, and Curry Paste
Marinated Peppers
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip
Grilled Bell Peppers with Halloumi
Baked Eggs in Stuffed Peppers
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
Asparagus and Bell Pepper Quiche
Green Pepper and Tomato Salad
Roasted Green Bell Peppers
Marinated Green Bell Peppers

Swing by the co-op and you’ll find bell peppers year-round, but the best and most beautiful are the sweetly ringing, locally-grown, in-season bell peppers you can find in the produce department this time of year!