Food facts - Peppers

Pepper Nutrition, Selection, Storage and Availability Peppers contain good amounts of fiber and Vitamins A, B6, C and E.  There are four main types of fresh peppers available for purchase: bell, banana, Mexi-Bell and pimientos.  Also available are sweet bell peppers, which are harvested green or allowed to ripen to red or yellow. Banana peppers are yellow; Mexi-Bells are a cross between bells and chili peppers, and pimientos are heart-shaped, flavorful peppers.  When buying peppers, look for those that are firm, glossy and well-shaped.  Avoid peppers with wrinkled skins or sunken brown spots. Stems should be green and firm.  For best results, store peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week after purchase.  Green peppers last longer than red peppers.  Peppers can also be dried with special preparation for future use. Fresh sweet peppers are available in Wisconsin in July through frost.

Pepper Extras Since 5000 B.C., the Indians of Mexico and Central America have used hot and sweet peppers.  The name pepper comes from Spanish explorers looking for peppercorns (from which black pepper comes from), even though sweet and hot peppers are not related to peppercorns.  Hot peppers are different from sweet peppers because the latter lacks capsaicin, which gives hot peppers their bite.  Sweet bell peppers are the most popular in the United States, even though hot peppers are increasing in popularity due in some part to ethnic cuisine.

Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.