Bell peppers make for an impressive display in the produce section of the grocery store because they come in such a beautiful array of colors. Green, yellow, orange and red peppers come to mind, while purple, brown and white peppers are less common, but can likely be found at your local farmers market. That’s almost all the colors of the rainbow!
Peppers also vary widely in ﬂavor. You may have faced the dilemma of spending less on green bell peppers, or opting for sweeter, tastier colors. Green bell peppers have that raw, vegetal taste because they are underripe. Farmers invest less in growing them, and that leads to lower prices. Yellow, orange and red peppers are of the same variety as green peppers, but they’ve spent more time on the plant absorbing nutrients, and are therefore much sweeter. Purple, brown, and white peppers fall somewhere in between.
That doesn’t mean green bell peppers don’t have a place in our cooking. They are delicious roasted, sautéed, or stuﬀed, and they are in season soon! Compare that to the other colors, which aren’t in season until late summer or early fall.
Here are a few fun facts about bell peppers.
- Christopher Columbus brought bell peppers from Central and South America to his homeland in Spain in the 15th century, where they spread across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Their versatility has made them a popular ingredient in cuisines all over the world.
- Although they have the same name, the black pepper we grind on our food is not related to bell peppers.
- Botanically speaking, bell peppers are technically fruits because they are produced from a ﬂowering plant and contain seeds.
- Although you can’t climb these stalks, bell pepper plants can grow to around three feet.
- Bell peppers are called “capsicums” in Australia, New Zealand, and South Asia.
- Yellow, orange, and red bell peppers have higher levels of vitamin C than green peppers because they are riper.
If you’re interested in exploring the versatility of the bell pepper, check out our favorite 12 ways to use them below.