The bell pepper, also known as sweet pepper, pepper, or capsicum, is the fruit of Capsicum annum plants belonging to the Grossum cultivar family. The plant grows fruits in a number of colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple cultivars. “Sweet peppers” is a term used to describe bell peppers and other peppers with a milder taste. They are fruits—botanically classified as berries that are commonly used as vegetable ingredient or side dish.
Although peppers and chiles are technically fruits (and have a long summer season), they don’t have the sweet, juicy tastes that you expect from berries in the summer. Instead, they push our taste buds to live on the brink of their comfort zones. Peppers grow well in the summer so they can suck up the sun and enjoy the dry weather. They produce, and supply heat to our kitchens. Most bell bell plants will continue to produce well into the autumn. Hot, damp soil with a temperature range of 21 to 29 °C (70 to 84 °F) is ideal for growing bell peppers.
Other Types (Species) of Pepper
Pepper are well known household name around the world. They come in different varieties (species). Below are some of the most common varieties (species) of pepper:
Typically, these are roasted and blistered. They make a perfect appetizer on their own until charred and drizzled with oil or sauce. However, eating them is a gamble. It’s a mostly tame pepper, but there is usually one spicy shishito in the bunch. You won’t know which one it is until you take a bite.
They’re a sweet pepper that’s commonly found on deli sandwiches. They’re also delicious in salads (you’ll find them in antipasto at most Italian restaurants) and on pizza. They have a much tangier taste than bell peppers.
Sweet Italian Pepper (Pepperoncini)
Sometimes mistaken for banana peppers, they have a similar appearance and taste and can almost often be used interchangeably. Pepperoncinis add a little extra zing. They aren’t spicy at all.
They’re also known as cherry peppers and are a main ingredient of pimento cheese. Since they are not spicy and fall into the second to lowest category of the Scoville scale, they are an excellent choice for stuffing peppers.
This are often sold in specialized grocery stores, either canned or jarred. They can be pureed for sauces or baked and served as a hors d’oeuvre filled with cheese. They’re not as spicy as an Anaheim or poblano pepper, but they’re also spicy.
Cuban Pepper (or Cubanelle Pepper)
These peppers are usually used to fry, but they can also be substituted for bell peppers in a number of dishes to give a different flavor. They’re classified as sweet peppers because their heat is still moderate.
Have you heard of ancho chilis before? That’s a poblano pepper that’s been dried. Poblano peppers are a step up from banana peppers and pimentos in terms of heat. Roasting is a common cooking method when fresh. In chile relleno, they’re the pepper of choice.
Anaheim peppers are commonly used in canned green chiles. They have a milder heat than habaneros and are more akin to a poblano. However, there is a hotter Anaheim pepper strain that comes from New Mexico.
Pasilla peppers are the dried form of a kind of pepper known as chilaca peppers, which are also used in mole sauce. They have a medium heat that is lower on the Scoville scale than jalapenos.
Jalapeno peppers are a step up from Anaheim and poblano peppers in terms of heat. They’re one of the more popular peppers to use in cooking, and they’re delicious in everything from chilis to soups and salads. A smoked jalapeno pepper is a chipotle pepper.
Peppers that are similar to jalapeno peppers but are spicier and sweeter. The flesh is smooth, firm, and of medium thickness. Excellent in Latin dishes such as stews, soups, dips, and fire-roasted meats.
Yellow Chile Pepper
These sweet peppers come in a variety of heat ranges, from moderate to hot. They have a dense, bright yellow flesh with a smooth feel and a gleaming finish. They can be stuffed and baked, fried, grilled, pickled, or used raw in salads and crudites.
Serrano peppers are spicier than jalapenos, but not as spicy as habaneros. They’re sometimes minced and used in salsa and guacamole, just like jalapenos.
The name sounds fiery and exotic, but unlike some of the other peppers on this list, the guajillo pepper would not sting your tongue. It’s hotter than a jalapeno, but sweeter. It’s also one of the most widely dried peppers, and it’s notable for its use in mole sauce.
Cayenne peppers are hotter than serranos and can set your mouth on fire. In addition to the red cayenne peppers you’re already familiar with, you will even find yellow cayenne gold peppers.
These peppers, which are almost as spicy as a habanero, will trick you. On the surface, they resemble bell peppers, but under the sweet skin, there’s a lot of heat.
Bird’s Eye Pepper
These hot peppers are a cross between cayenne and habanero peppers. The bird’s eye pepper is actually a Thai pepper variety. Of course, they’re mostly used in Thai cuisine, but they’re often used to add spice to hot sauces and chili powders.
Piri Piri Pepper
While these peppers are still considered spicy, they are edible and are widely used in African and Portuguese cuisine.
On the heat scale, habaneros smoke jalapenos. They’re one of the hottest easily available peppers, second only to the ghost pepper. They have traces of sweets underneath all that heat.
Scotch Bonnet Pepper
Scotch bonnets are a common pepper in Caribbean cuisine and are often compared to habaneros. As a result, they pack a punch — this isn’t a soft pepper by any means. Take note while eating.
Ghost peppers aren’t quite as deadly as the Carolina Reaper, but they’re on par with the Komodo dragon. If you lose a bet, you may have to eat a ghost pepper as a punishment.
Komodo Dragon Pepper
Many people assume that ghost peppers are the hottest, but Komodo dragon peppers are just as hot. They have a sweet flavor before the heat kicks in (at which point you likely regret ever biting into it).
Carolina Reaper Pepper
Even hotter than the Komodo dragon pepper, it’s almost the closest you can get to eating pepper spray. It’s not widely available.
Dragon’s Breath Pepper
It is one of the tiniest peppers around. They’re not commercially available and aren’t approved for eating because they cram too much heat into only a half inch.
Historical Background (Origin) of Bell Pepper
Bell peppers originated in Mexico, Central America, and South America. In 1493, bell pepper seeds were introduced to Spain, where they rapidly spread throughout Europe and Asia. The mild bell pepper cultivar was developed in Szeged, Hungary, in the 1920s. Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers named bell peppers while looking for peppercorn plants to make black pepper. Columbus brought back samples of a wide range of peppers, which were very common in Europe. Peppers have also been introduced to Africa and Asia since then. Peppers are used in cooking, as a condiment, and as a spice.
Nutritional Value (Composition) of Bell Pepper
Water makes up the majority of raw, fresh bell peppers (92 percent ). Carbohydrates, and minimal quantities of protein and fat, make up the majority of bell pepper. Calories (31), water (92%), protein (1 gram), carbohydrates (6 grams), sugar (4.2 grams), fiber (2.1 grams), and fat (2.1 grams) are the major nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw red bell peppers (0.3 grams).
Bell peppers are mostly carbohydrates, which account for the majority of their calories — 3.5 ounces (100 grams) contain 6 grams of carbohydrates. Sugars like glucose and fructose, which are responsible for the sweet taste of ripe bell peppers, make up the majority of the carbohydrates. Bell peppers have a small amount of fiber in them, about 2% by fresh weight. They are a good fiber source calorie for calorie.
Bell peppers are loaded with various vitamins and minerals. Bell pepper contains:
- Vitamin C: One medium red bell pepper contains 169 percent of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C, making it one of the best sources of this important nutrient in the diet.
- Vitamin B6: The most common source of vitamin B6 is pyridoxine, which belongs to a group of nutrients that aid in the formation of red blood cells.
- Vitamin K1: A form of vitamin K, also known as phylloquinone, K1 is important for blood clotting and bone health), potassium (this essential mineral may improve heart health.
- Folate: Folate, also known as vitamin B9, performs a range of roles in the body. Having enough folate is essential during pregnancy.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that is needed for healthy nerves and muscles. Oils, nuts, seeds, and vegetables are the best food sources of this fat-soluble vitamin.
- Vitamin A: Pro-vitamin A (beta carotene) is abundant in red bell peppers, which the body converts to vitamin A.
- Capsanthin: Capsanthin is a potent antioxidant present in red bell peppers and is responsible for their vivid red appearance.
- Violaxanthin: This compound is the most common carotenoid antioxidant in yellow bell peppers.
- Lutein: Lutein is found in abundance in green (unripe) bell peppers and black paprika, but not in ripe bell peppers. Lutein helps to improve eye health.
- Quercetin: According to research, this polyphenol antioxidant can help to prevent some chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
- Luteolin: Lutein, like quercetin, is a polyphenol antioxidant with a host of health benefits.
Culinary uses of Bell Pepper
While bell pepper is a fruit, it is used as a vegetable in cooking. It comes in a number of colors, including red, yellow, orange, and green, and its spicy flavor makes it a common ingredient in international cuisine. Salads and other pepper recipes, such as stir-fried vegetables or grilled vegetables, benefit from the inclusion of bell peppers. Peppers are used as a flavoring component in a variety of meat dishes. When cooking with bell peppers, the seeds are normally discarded. Some of the most common bell pepper recipes involve pizza toppings and sandwich fillings. The bell shape of the pepper makes it an excellent stuffing vegetable. Any traditional pepper stuffing ingredients include mashed potatoes, minced meat, and cottage cheese. When stuffed peppers are roasted on the grill, they taste the best. Bell pepper is most widely found in soups and stews. To go with beef, pasta, or seafood, they can be fried, skinned, and pureed.
Since bell pepper is a versatile and readily available ingredient, it is used in nearly all world cuisines. Bell pepper is most commonly found in Asian cuisine, where it is known as ‘capsicum.’ Bell peppers are commonly stir-fried in Chinese cuisine. Bell peppers, cut or diced, are often used in rice and chicken dishes. Bell pepper is used in Indian cuisine in a variety of side dishes, such as potato filled capsicum or stir-fried potato and capsicum. Simla mirch is the Indian word for bell pepper. Yellow and red bell peppers are common in salads and sandwich fillings in American and Canadian cuisines. These cuisines also include a lot of recipes for pickled bell peppers. Bell pepper is also found widely in the cuisines of Portugal and Brazil. Curried bell pepper dishes are popular in Sri Lankan and Argentinean cuisines, and bell pepper is a common ingredient in typical barbeque meals.
Common Bell Pepper Recipes
Below are some of the most common bell pepper recipes:
- Classic beef and rice stuffed capsicum: It’s a common bell pepper dish in the United States. This curry combines leftover rice along with beef.
- Roasted peppers and seasonal vegetables: The roasted peppers lend the fresh seasonal vegetables a sweet peppery scent, and the dish is seasoned with herbs and spices. It’s a good-for-you bell pepper dish.
- Red pepper Marinara sauce: This famous pasta sauce is spiced with sweet red pepper. Marinara sauce is also a tasty accompaniment to finger foods.
- Classic Chinese pepper steak: Beef is mixed with thin slices of bell pepper in this traditional recipe. In Chinese cuisine, it is one of the most common bell pepper dishes.
Health Benefits of Bell Pepper
These bright and shiny vegetables are a storehouse of nutrients in addition to making the dishes enticing and tasty. Red bell peppers are much more nutritious and have a sweeter taste than green bell peppers, which are more usually served. Below are some of the health benefits of red bell peppers:
Red bell peppers are a good choice that can be used in your everyday diet since they contain phytonutrients that are high in antioxidants. These antioxidants counteract environmental toxins and cell degradation. They defend the body against free radical destruction, which is related to the growth of cancer. Bell peppers thus assist in the prevention of cancers of the stomach, colon, breast, prostate, and lung.
Provide the Body with Essential Vitamins
Red bell peppers contain 300 percent of the daily vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is important for proper iron absorption in addition to being a potent antioxidant. As a result, those that are iron deficient should combine red bell peppers with their iron supply for optimum absorption.
Red bell peppers are beneficial for curing and reducing inflammation in the body. It’s a smart way to re-energize yourself whether you’re stressed out or tired.
Prevents Anxiety and Hypertension
Red bell peppers consist of a combination of vitamin B6 and magnesium that helps to relieve anxiety, particularly anxiety induced by premenstrual symptoms. Vitamin B6 is a natural diuretic that helps to reduce bloating and prevents hypertension.
Enhances Good Eyesight
Red bell pepper is a decent source of vitamin A, with one cup supplying around 75% of the daily requirement. Vitamin A is a nutrient that promotes healthy vision, especially night vision, by assisting the retina’s work and preventing the forming of cataracts.
Helps in Weight Management
Red bell peppers aid in weight loss. A cup of sliced red bell pepper has 31 calories, no sugar, and no cholesterol. Furthermore, red bell peppers will help you burn more calories by stimulating thermogenesis and increasing metabolic rate. Capsaicin, which gives other peppers their heat, is absent in red bell peppers. As a result, they have a mild thermogenic effect, which improves metabolism without raising heart rate or blood pressure like other pepper varieties.
Half a cup of red bell pepper contains about 1 gram of fiber, which aids digestion and keeps cholesterol levels in check. It also aids in the treatment of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome and protects against colon cancer.
Prevents Several Chronic Diseases
Red bell peppers is used in a healthy diet that includes a number of fruits and vegetables to lower the risk of chronic diseases including stroke, type 2 diabetes, cardiac failure, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
Enhance Proper Muscle Contraction
Per cup, red bell pepper contains 7% of the daily potassium requirement. This mineral is needed by the body for the regulation of fluid levels within and outside cells, heart muscle contraction, and intestinal peristalsis, which aids in the expulsion of waste from the body.
Enhances Bones, Muscles and Blood Vessel Formation
Vitamin C in red bell peppers aids in the formation of bone collagen, cartilage, muscles, and blood vessels by facilitating iron absorption.
Enhances Skin Health
Red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as other bell pepper varieties, making them particularly beneficial to the health. Red bell peppers contain vitamin C, which aids in the formation of collagen, a synthetic fiber that holds us together. Your skin needs collagen to stay intact, and even mild vitamin C deficiency can cause skin problems. Lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin are three cancer-fighting carotenoids present in red bell peppers. Aside from being good for the skin, the high silicon content of these carotenoids helps to reduce swelling caused by arthritis. The therapeutic properties of red bell pepper juice are also well-known.
Enhance Healthy Hair Formation
Vitamin C, which is involved in the formation of collagen, is abundant in red bell peppers. Collagen is needed for hair follicle health and optimal development. Vitamin C deficiency can cause hair to become dry, cut, and brittle. Red bell pepper can help reduce hair loss by increasing blood flow, which promotes hair growth and prevents hair follicles from DHT’s effects. Red bell pepper’s spiciness will speed up hair growth by more than 50%. Boil a few red bell pepper slices in water for 10 minutes, then let them cool for 15 minutes. Then leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. Hair growth would be stimulated if you do this on a daily basis.