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Source: Paul M. on Unsplash

These Bells Don’t Ring

Holiday side dishes got you stumped this year?

Would you like to feature a new and different vegetable dish?  How about introducing a novel tradition this year by serving bell peppers? They are loaded with nutrients, very low in calories, attractive, tasty, come in different colors, and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Sweet Peppers - Photo by NeONBRAND

Photo Source: NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Bell peppers, commonly known as sweet peppers, are part of the same genus and species, Capsicum annum, as hot peppers without the chemical substance capsaicin that produces the hotness.  Sweet peppers are green when immature, and ripen to a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, brown, white and purple at full maturity.  The colored varieties are noticeably sweeter than the immature green pepper.

Compared to some other vegetables, bell peppers require little preparation before eating.  Besides the routine washing with cool tap water and a vegetable brush to remove surface residue,   the only task left is to cut it open to remove the seeds and inner membranes before eating.

Here are some tips for selecting and using bell peppers.

* Select thick, firm, and brightly colored peppers.
* Avoid shriveled skin and soft spots.
* Enjoy bell peppers raw as a sweet and juicy quick go-to-snack or prepared with other raw or cooked ingredients.
* Bell peppers are versatile and can be baked, broiled, grilled, and sautéed. They are a nice complement in a variety of main and side dishes.  Some popular examples include salads; stuffed with a combination of foods such as cheese, meat, poultry, whole grains, vegetables, and legumes; and as a hearty addition to chili, fajitas, pizza, sauces, soups, wraps, and sandwiches.
* Refrigerate in a plastic bag; use within 5 days.

Try something new this holiday season by offering a different slant on the traditional green bean casserole. Click here to view the Fresh from Florida – Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s recipe Florida Snap Bean and Sweet Pepper Sauté.