Monday, June 1, 2020

Spotlight on Peppers

Watch this video on how to buy, store, and prepare Bell Peppers.
Recipes for Bell Peppers:

Rainbow Bell Pepper Boats with Garbanzo Beans and Kale
Bell Pepper Nachos
Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole
Bell Pepper and Vidalia Onion Strata with Fresh Salsa
Sautéed Peppers

Bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors: green, red, yellow, orange, even purple and white!  They are naturally sweet (NOT spicy like other pepper varieties such as jalapeños or habañeros) and are a great source of vitamin C.  Green bell peppers are slightly bitter since they do not get all of the natural sugars a pepper would get while ripening on the vine.  Bell peppers are even dried to make paprika.

Fresh bell peppers are in season during the summer and early fall, when they are most widely available and taste their best.  In Maryland, you can find bell peppers from July through September at farmers markets (which is where you are also most likely to find the purple and white varieties!).

Ways to use bell peppers any time of the day:

  • Breakfast:  Peppers are a delicious addition to omelets and frittatas, and a great way to add more veggies to your meal.
  • Lunch:  Add sliced peppers to sandwiches, wraps, and salads for extra crunch.
  • Snack:  Sliced peppers are the perfect match for hummus, guacamole, salsa, or any of your other favorite dips.
  • Dinner:  Add color and flavor by using peppers as a topping on pizzas and tacos; inside quesadillas and burritos; and tossing in stir fries, and rice and pasta dishes.  Add chopped fresh peppers into cold rice, pasta, or other grain-based salads.

Helpful recipe tip:  one large bell pepper = 1 cup chopped

Shopping and Storing Tips:
  • Choose bell peppers that are firm and heavy for their size with bright coloring and shiny skin.  If stems are still attached, they should be firm and green.  Avoid peppers that have thin wrinkled skin or brown patches.
  • Green bell peppers cost less and store longer than other types.
  • Whole peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; do not wash until ready to use.
  • Bell peppers are a breeze to freeze!  Cut peppers into strips, dice or slice, depending on how you plan to use them.  Freeze peppers in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides, about an hour or longer until frozen.  Transfer to a freezer bag and flatten the bag to push out as much air as possible before sealing.  The peppers will remain separated, making it easy to measure out for recipes.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall