Quick and Healthy Pepper Recipes
The sweet varieties of peppers, especially the bells, traditionally have been by far the most popular in the United States. They are eaten green or ripe and are used for salads, stuffing, soup, stews, relishes and pickling. New developments in color and form have done nothing to dull the popularity of sweet peppers. Hot pepper varieties have also enjoyed a rebirth of popularity recently, mainly due to various ethnic cuisines that use their unique flavors and heat creatively.
Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Peppers
Nutritionally, peppers vary depending on the variety and stage of maturity. In general, all peppers are a good source of vitamin A and C; the red ones are bursting with these two antioxidants. Antioxidants are a group of nutrients that neutralize free radicals in the body fluids reducing the risk of disease.
Free radicals are naturally produced when the body uses oxygen. Unless they are neutralized, they cause cell damage, which may lead to health problems such as arthritis, heart disease and cancer. A single raw red pepper, sweet or hot, can meet the daily requirements for two important antioxidants, vitamin A and C.
One small raw sweet pepper, about 3/4 cup
- Calories: 19.98
- Protein: 0.66 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4.76 grams
- Dietary fiber: 1.48 grams
- Calcium: 6.66 mg
- Potassium: 130.98 mg
- Vitamin: C
- Green: 66.08 mg
- Red: 140.60 mg
- Folate: 16.28 mcg
- Vitamin A
- Green: 468 IU
- Red: 4218 IU
Preparation and Serving
Wash peppers just before using them. Peppers, both sweet and hot, are delicious raw, grilled or added to cooked preparations. Roasting peppers, however, brings out a totally taste. It is quite a chore, but well worth it. Char thick-skinned peppers until the skin is black and blistered. They can be charred under a broiler, over an open flame or on the grill. While they are still hot, cover or place in a paper bag for 15 minutes and allow the steam to loosen the charred skins. Peel over a bowl to catch the juices, and use in your favorite recipe.
The most popular home preservation method is pickling. Chopped peppers freeze well without blanching. Upon thawing the peppers, they still retain some crispness and can be used in cooked dishes or raw in uncooked preparations.
To Tray Freeze Sweet Bell Peppers
- Wash and core peppers. Chop, dice or slice according to how you plan to use them.
- Spread in a single layer on a tray of a cookie sheet. Place tray in the freezer for an hour or longer.
- Loosen pepper pieces from the tray and pour into zip closure freezer bags. Immediately place sealed bags in the freezer. The pepper pieces will remain separated for ease of measuring. Simply remove as many as you need, reseal the bag and return to the freezer.