Brightly coloured and sweet flavoured, peppers (also known as bell peppers) are a versatile vegetable that are eaten both raw and cooked and are used in many different cuisines including Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Italian and French. A choice of different colours are available all peppers are originally green, and as they ripen and sweeten they turn red, orange or yellow. Peppers are sometimes skinned before using this can help to enhance their sweet flavour. When buying look for firm textured, bright and shiny peppers, and bear in mind that orange, red and yellow varieties have a sweeter flavour than green peppers. Avoid bruised, wrinkled or blemished peppers as they will be past their best.
How to Use
Peppers add a delicious crunch and a splash of colour to a variety of dishes. Raw peppers are a popular ingredient in salads and dips. They can also be added to quiches, pizzas, pasta sauces, stir-fries, paella, pies, casseroles and vegetable dishes such as ratatouille. Peppers can also be stuffed with a savoury filling such as a minced meat mixture or vegetarian risotto, baked and served hot or filled with pâté or a soft cheese mixture and served cold.
How to Prepare
To chop peppers, cut in half and remove the seeds and bitter white pith, wash and dry then cut into slices or chunks. To prepare peppers for stuffing, slice off the top with the stalk and using a small, sharp knife cut out all the white pith and scrape out all the seeds, rinse thoroughly with cold water and stuff as required. To skin peppers, slice them in half lengthways and remove the seeds and pith. Preheat a grill to high and place the pepper halves under the grill until the skin starts to blacken, place in a plastic bag for 5-10 minutes and the skin should peel off easily.
How to Cook
Peppers can be fried or steamed. To fry, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan and add prepared pepper chunks or slices, fry for 5-8 minutes until the pepper is just starting to soften. To steam whole peppers, place in a steamer for 12-15 minutes or until tender, use sliced in salads, sauces or casseroles.
How to Store
Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.