Red bell peppers are a popular variety of Capsicum annuum, a species of flowering plant in the Solanaceae family. These delightful bell-shaped vegetables are characterized by their vibrant red color and sweet, mild flavor, as well as their thick, crisp texture when raw or cooked. Unlike their green counterparts, red bell peppers are fully ripened, which results in a higher nutritional content and natural sweetness.
Incorporating red bell peppers into your cooking brings a burst of color, flavor, and nutrients to a variety of dishes. They can be enjoyed raw in salads, stir-fries, or as crudité with your favorite dip. Additionally, they can be roasted, grilled, or stuffed to create a diverse range of delectable meals. Rich in vitamins A and C, they are a nutritious choice for home cooks and consumers alike.
Cooking with red bell peppers can be a joy, thanks to their vibrant colour, sweet flavour, and versatility in various dishes. The most common questions when using red bell peppers often involve how to slice them, how to roast or grill them, and how to stuff them.
Some common problems people encounter when cooking with red bell peppers include overcooking, resulting in a mushy texture, and undercooking when you're aiming for fully softened and caramelized peppers. Roasting can also be a challenge, as the skin can burn quickly under high heat.
To get the most out of your red bell peppers, always remove the seeds and the white pith, as these parts can be bitter. Roast, grill, or sauté them on medium heat to preserve the sweet flavour while giving a deliciously charred and soft texture. You can also use them raw in salads, salsas, or sauces for a pop of fresh, sweet taste.
Here's a little known tip: to easily remove the skin after roasting, put the hot pepper into a plastic bag and seal it. Wait 15 minutes, then rub the skin off.
A fun trick to test the ripeness of a pepper is to give it a gentle shake. If you hear a slight rattling sound, it means the seeds inside are loose and the pepper is at peak ripeness.
How do I slice a red bell pepper?
How do I roast a red bell pepper?
How do I grill a red bell pepper?
How can I stuff a red bell pepper?
Why is my cooked bell pepper too crisp or too soft?
Can I eat the seeds and white parts of a bell pepper?
Can I eat red bell peppers raw?
Are red bell peppers spicy?
How can I easily peel a roasted bell pepper?
How can I tell if a bell pepper is ripe?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does red bell pepper expire?
Unopened and fresh from the market, red bell peppers can last about 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. However, once you've cut into them, they'll only last about 2-3 days in the fridge. If you've gotten your hands on some frozen peppers, those can stay good for around 10-12 months in the freezer.
How do you tell if red bell pepper is bad?
A tell-tale sign of a bad bell pepper are areas that start to look wrinkled or shriveled, or spots that have started to discolor or turn soft. These are indications that the bell pepper has started to rot. If it smells off or its seeds are dark and moldy, it's time to throw it out.
Tips for storing red bell pepper to extend shelf life
• Always store fresh bell peppers in the refrigerator. Wrap them in a paper towel before placing into a plastic bag, the paper towel can help to absorb any extra moisture and prevent them from getting soft.
• If you have cut bell peppers left over, store them in airtight containers to extend their shelf life.
• For freezing, wash and cut the bell peppers into slices or chopped pieces, then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring to airtight freezer bags.
• If you're going to cook with them, try adding them towards the end of the process, to retain as much of their natural crunchiness and vibrant color as possible.