Bell Pepper – Capsicum annuum

Bell Pepper still growing
Bell Pepper still growing

Crimson bell peppers
Gold bell peppers
Orange bell peppers
Kelly Green bell peppers
Each with belltowers inside
in which Spirit bells of immortality
hang… ready for the sun’s light
them into life to ignite

 

By O. Anna Niemus

 

All peppers are considered native to Mexico, Central and South America. This scientific name also refers to wax peppers, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, and jalapeno peppers, as well as the mild, sweet bell pepper. Bell peppers are grown from seed; they need warm days and slightly cooler nights to set fruit. They can be harvested at any size and eaten green and unripe or allowed to ripen to yellow, orange or red before consumption. The bright colored peppers are sweeter and have a mellower flavor that the unripe green ones.

 

Bell peppers have been under cultivation for over 9000 years in South and Central Americas. The pepper seeds were taken to Spain in 1493.

 

In herbal medicine use all peppers are considered excellent sources of Vitamins A & C (red peppers are especially high), and therefore are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, so the use of food high in them may help prevent such diseases as arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

 

As food they are an integral part of Creole, Cajun, Italian and Mediterranean cooking. They may be consumed raw or cooked, added to salads, stir fries, stews, soups….anything you can imagine. An easy summer dish is to take shrimp, grape tomatoes, pepper chunks, mushrooms and pearl onions and slide them alternating onto a skewer, Place this on the grill, turn so that it does not burn. Eat when the shrimp turns all white! Yum!

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