Peppers, a distant cousin of the tomato, have been in cultivation in Central America since 3500 B.C.
Bell peppers, named for their shape, are the sweeter and less-pungent members of the capsicum family. While most peppers start out green, if left to ripen, most varieties develop brilliant color ranging from red, purple, white, orange, yellow and brown. Bell peppers, most traditionally sold and eaten green, contain a recessive gene that eliminates capsaicin from this particular variety which means they won’t make you sweat like their hot and spicy siblings. High in vitamin C across the board, bell peppers become more nutritious as they change color, with red bell peppers having three times the amount of vitamin C as green peppers. Young peppers, with tender skins, can be eaten raw in salads or crudités. More mature fruits are better served roasted, grilled, or peeled as their skins can be tough.
Always choose peppers with a tight, shiny surface that is free of blemishes, and are heavy for their size. Store them in a ventilated bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. Be sure that there is proper air circulation as they are prone to mold.