dcsimg

Revisiting the Bell Pepper

bell peppersAccording to a report from the Economic Research Service (ERS), there has been a substantial increase in U.S. imports of fruits and vegetables, particularly bell peppers—the average consumption for an individual rose from 9.2 pounds in 2005 to 9.8 pounds in 2009. Furthermore, a 2011 report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service shows that California led the nation’s bell pepper production in 2010 with 7.7 million cwt. Florida was the runner up with 4.1 million cwt.

Bell peppers are in demand for their highly nutritional value and their relatively high tolerance for production in varying seasons. The taste ranges anywhere from sweet for the red pepper, to some bitterness for green and purple bell peppers. They are grown and are available year round, but the best crops are produced in the summer and autumn months.

Culinary Arts

Bell peppers are considered a staple ingredient, adding to various meals such as salads and stir fries. However, they do see a life beyond being the simple garnish and shine in the spotlight of some dishes; for example as stuffed peppers.

As bell peppers continue to mature and change color, the vitamin C content continues to rise with that of the sugar content – which explains the sweeter flavors in bright colored bell peppers.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

For their size, bell peppers have tremendous nutritional value and provide great health benefits for the human body. They do not contain capsaicin – the spicy component in chili peppers. According to a DRI report, one medium-sized green bell pepper contains 177% of the RDA for vitamin C, which is necessary to maintain good cardiac and vascular health. The rich vitamin C content in bell peppers mixed with the carotenoids, or antioxidants, may help prevent cancer by destroying cancer cells.

Other important ingredients include vitamin A, lycopene, and lutein, which are necessary for eye health and prevent the formation of cataracts and other eye diseases. Sulfur and manganese are used by the body for growth and development of bones and aid in maintaining tissue health. The enzymes, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin, also found in bell peppers, are anti-inflammatory agents that, along with vitamin C and carotenoids, may help prevent cancer. All these nutrients are what make the bell pepper very beneficial to the maintenance of good health.

These juicy, crisp vegetables are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and retain the most nutritional value when eaten raw. If you are cooking the bell peppers, the best way to retain their vitamins and minerals is to cook at a low temperature for a short amount of time.

The Rainbow of Colors

Green bell peppers are the most popular of the various colors. It is harvested when it reaches maturity, but retains its green color. Bell peppers that stay on the plant longer start to turn brighter colors, as they go from yellow, to orange, and to red. You will also find some less common colors like purple or ivory. The purple pepper is actually in an unripe stage but can still be eaten – although it will turn red if left on the plant.

Next time you are out grocery shopping, be sure to include bell peppers on your list of ingredients and add these healthy and colorful veggies to your cooking.

 

About the Author
Sharon Hunter
is the cooking enthusiast and food blogger behind StuffedBellPeppers.net. Check out his delicious stuffed bell pepper recipe collection at his site and on Facebook.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104