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sweet pepper

 

Synonym: bell pepper; botanical name: Capsicum annuum


Paprika

 

The archetype of the sweet pepper – in short, pepper – stems from tropical America. Spanish seafarers brought the vegetable to Europe in the 16th century.

At first the pepper was grown only as a decorative plant, then later as a vegetable. In Germany the pepper was practically unknown until the end of the Second World War. It has now become a popular vegetable here, thanks to vacation trips taken in southern European countries and the influence of guest-workers here from those regions. The fruit vegetable, which is grown chiefly in greenhouses, meanwhile has a fixed place in the assortment of vegetables in Germany.

The cultivated area in Germany is relatively small, producing only 5% of the peppers sold here. They are imported predominantly from Spain, Hungary and the Netherlands.


Availability


Peppers can be bought all year round. From June to November they are especially abundant. Domestically grown produce is available in the shops from mid-July to October.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Surely you have heard of peppers referred to as pepper pods. Botanically, however, they belong to the berries. There are around 85 genera with approximately 2000 species.

Depending on the species, the fruits vary in size, shape, colour and time to maturity. Peppers may be oblong and pointed, angular and blunt, angular and pointed or flat. In addition to the well-known green, yellow and red varieties there are also orange, purple or even black and white varieties.

Green fruits are not fully ripe; separated from the plant, they turn more or less red when they ripen, but they will never be as evenly red as those fruits that ripen on the plant. The skin of the pepper is shiny. On the inside whitish septa separate the fruit chambers, which contain small white seeds. Peppers can be described as having a mildly spicy taste. You have certainly experienced yourself that the yellow and red fruits taste sweeter than the green ones. In contrast to hot peppers, sweet peppers contain little or no capsaicin, the substance that is responsible for the sharpness. Capsaicin exists in the membranes and the seeds, but only negligibly in the pericarp, or pulp, itself.

In addition to the sweet pepper and the hot pepper, there is a third genus, the tomato pepper, a cross between sweet pepper and tomato. This fruit, shaped like a ribbed tomato, tastes a little hotter but at the same time sweeter than sweet pepper.


Ingredients


Peppers contain large amounts of vitamin C. If you eat a whole, raw pepper, your daily requirement of vitamin C is filled.

Green peppers contain less sugar than yellow and red ones do. This is why the yellow and red peppers are sweeter.

The red fruits in particular are rich in carotenoids. The best-known of these, beta-carotene, is present in relatively small amounts, while capsanthin and capsorubin are the main carotenoids in peppers.

100 g contain:

Sweet pepper,fresh
Yellow pepper, fresh
Green pepper, fresh
Green pepper, cooked
Energie (kcal)
37
30
20
20
Wasser (g)
87
89
91
91
Eiweiß (g)
1
1
1
1
Fett (g)
< 1
< 1
< 1
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
6
5
3
3
Ballaststoffe (g)
4
4
4
4
Vitamin C (mg)
250
130
125
111
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
354
31
180
162
Folsäure (µg)
50
18
18
13
Kalium (mg)
260
220
177
177
Natrium (mg)
5
4
3
3
Calcium (mg)
10
8
11
11
Magnesium (mg)
14
16
12
12
Eisen (mg)
0,6
0,4
0,8
0,8



Harmful substances


Peppers are among the vegetables with a low nitrate content – less than 500 mg per kilogram.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


When you buy peppers, makes sure that the skins are smooth and slightly shiny. Above all, the stem should not be wizened. When it is, mould can easily form.

Peppers belong to the group of vegetables that are sensitive to cold. You should be careful if you store them in the refrigerator; the green fruits especially should not be kept too long at less than 6°C.

Store peppers separately, as they give off ethylene, which promotes ripening and makes other types of vegetables and fruits spoil more quickly.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Wash and wipe off peppers thoroughly before eating them. Remove the membranes, the stems and the seeds. Peppers are excellent eaten raw, in salads, for example, but they are also tasty when they are cooked or stewed. It is popular to fill peppers with meat or to use them in a stew.

There are an extraordinarily large number of recipes for using peppers. The food industry processes peppers mainly pickled, alone or with other vegetables and makes it into a paste.


Seasoning tip


Fresh salad herbs taste good with raw peppers. Stewed peppers harmonize with Mediterranean seasonings such as rosemary, thyme and garlic.


Miscellaneous


# The addition of acidic ingredients such as vinegar while cooking makes the bright colours turn a light brown.

# Pepper extract is often added to chicken feed to make the egg yolks yellow-orange.

 

 

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