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Cooking with Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers

Hot and sweet peppers are all related, but it wasnít until about one hundred years ago that the sweet peppers we know today were bred from the hotter varieties that first made the transatlantic voyage. Sweet peppers are relatively new on the culinary scene. They play such a large part in the modern cooking, though; it is hard to believe they havenít always been as important a flavoring element as onions or garlic.

The common red bell pepper is the same as the green. It has simple been left on the plant until fully ripe. (In fact, almost all peppers, sweet and hot, will turn from their initial green to red if they are left to mature on the plant). We are no longer limited to these two familiar peppers. A whole spectrum of very colorful, super sweet, think-skinned peppers are appearing in the markets. These ultra-fancy hybrids are still quite expensive since the majority of them are grown in Europe and shipped here by air, but the seeds are becoming more readily available, and specialty growers are beginning to cultivate them. If you are creating an eye-appealing platter of raw vegetables, or want a colorful; sauce pr stir-fry, they may well be worth the high price.

Look for deep vibrant yellow, an intense, almost maroon red, rich shining orange, creamy white, brilliant eggplant purple, even a deep chocolate brown. All begin their lives as green peppers and mature into these luscious hybrid colors. All maintain their color when they are use raw, but the purple and brown varieties turn a dark olive green if cooked for more than a minute or two. All can be substituted in recipes for the more familiar bells.

More about cooking with sweet and hot peppers

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