Now that you know what bell peppers are and why you should include bell peppers in your quest for a healthier diet…and a few great recipes to use them in…let’s make sure that we’re selecting the best bell peppers and storing them correctly.
Selecting Bell Peppers
Like most other fruits and veggies, bell peppers are available all year long, but are usually more available during the summer and early fall.
When shopping for bell peppers, look for ones that meet the following criteria…
are heavy for their size
deep vivid color
firm enough to yeild only slightly under a small amount of pressure
free of soft spots, blemishes and darkened areas
green and fresh looking stems
have no signs . Lof decay, injuries to the skin, or water-soaked areas
not soft or wrinkled, meaning that they are overripe
thick, well-formed and well-hydrated walls
Bell peppers start out green and then change from yellow to red as they mature.
The riper the bell pepper the more carotenoids and anthocyanins the bell pepper will contain….so your best bet is to choose red or yellow bell peppers.
Just as most other vegetables, buying organic bell peppers will ensure that you will be less likely to be exposed to contaminants, pesticides and heavy metals. To make sure that you are buying organic bell peppers, look for the USDA organic logo.
Storing Bell Peppers
Store bell peppers in the vegetable compartment your fridge, where they will keep for up to ten days. Certain nutrients—such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and carotenoids—are highly susceptible to heat. Refrigerating your bell peppers ensure that the bell peppers retain more of these nutrients.
However, if you really want your green bell peppers to change color so that you can get the extra nutrients, you might want to keep them for a day or two at room temperature instead of placing them in your fridge.
The optimal temperature to keep your bell peppers in the fridge is between 40-45°F.
Store bell peppers in as dry of a container as you able to because water can speed up the rotting process.
Place a damp cloth or paper towel in the vegetable compartment to help the peppers stay well hydrated.
It is important that you do not remove the stem before storing them because the stem keep them from losing moisture and prevents them from being damage by the cold temperature of the fridge.
Freezing Bell Peppers
Freezing whole bell peppers is better than chopping or slicing them first because this will maintain more of their nutrient content and flavor.
Prepping Bell Peppers
Before prepping your bell pepper, be sure to wash the pepper under cold running water. Scrub away any wax from the pepper with a natural bristle brush.
Now cut around the stem with a paring knife and gently remove it.
Cut the pepper in half lengthwise,
Clean out the core and seeds. You don’t want to remove the pulpy white inner cavity of the bell pepper because it is rich in flavonoids.