Red Bell Pepper: At a Glance
Red bell pepper is a type of capsicum that comes from the Capsicum annuum plant. It is closely related to other varieties of pepper, including jalapeños and cayenne peppers.
Unlike these peppers, bell peppers, including the red bell pepper, do not produce the chemical capsaicin. This makes the red bell pepper and other colored peppers much milder. Red bell peppers are rich in Vitamins A, C, and E.
Red bell peppers are simply ripe green bell peppers. As these bell peppers ripen and turn red, they become sweeter and less bitter. Red bell pepper adds spice to salad dressing, sauces, stews, and other dishes.
Cooking with Red Bell Pepper
People all over the world love cooking with red bell peppers. With onions and spicy sausage, it makes an excellent base for an Italian sausage and pepper ragu. French ratatouille wouldn’t be the same without red bell pepper. Across Africa you’ll find red bell pepper in a variety of dishes, including jollof rice, the baked egg meal shakshuka, and chakalaka, a vegetarian relish. In Asia, red bell peppers are common in stir fries, fried rice, and spring rolls.
Closer to home, fresh red bell peppers can be stuffed with meat and rice, sliced thinly for salads, roasted, or blended in red smoothies. However, the dried variety is a time-saving addition to any kitchen. When you have dried red bell pepper on hand, you don’t need to waste time finely chopping these vegetables.
In the morning, sprinkle dried red bell pepper on your eggs before scrambling or making an omelet. Add it to your hamburger or meatball mix before frying for some real punch. You can also stir dried red bell pepper into any stew or sauce as it simmers. Garnish a grain or leafy salad with dried red bell pepper before serving to add some extra heat.
Red Bell Pepper: History and Origination
Historians believe that farmers in modern-day Mexico first cultivated the tasty vegetable more than 9,000 years ago. Fossil traces from southwestern Ecuador show that bell peppers were being consumed there roughly 6,100 years ago. These microfossils suggest that bell peppers weren’t used only as a spice; they were mixed with corn and other foods to create dishes that were more complex than we might imagine. Colonialists exported the bell pepper seeds to Spain in the late 15th century. After more people tasted these delicious peppers, they became common around the world.
The term “bell pepper” dates back at least to 1699, when the Welsh explorer Lionel Wafer used it in his book, “A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America,” which detailed his explorations around Panama. In 1774, Edward Long wrote about nine different capsicum varieties, including the bell pepper, which he said suited pickling best. President Thomas Jefferson, the first U.S. citizen to plant the closely related cayenne pepper, was also a fan of bell peppers. He wrote that large bell peppers were excellent for salads after their seeds were removed.
Cultivation of Red Bell Pepper
It takes time for a green bell pepper to reach maturity and turn distinctively red. While their ages vary, most red bell peppers are at least 65 to 100 days old. Bell peppers turn red during summer.
If the conditions aren’t right, a green bell pepper will never turn red. You need a warm environment with a soil temperature between 65 and 75 degrees. Bell peppers also like moist soil, so they should be watered regularly. An inch of water every week is usually sufficient, although more may be needed if the weather is very hot or windy.
Red pepper seeds are best nurtured indoors in a well-lit environment. Some farmers lay clear plastic over the soil in the spring, which helps the soil warm up before they plant the seedlings. Once the soil reaches the perfect temperature, they plant the seedlings and replace the plastic with mulch. This keeps the heat in the soil and also prevents it from getting much hotter as summer approaches. It also helps the soil stay moist. Regular fertilization ensures that red bell peppers get all the magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous they need to reach maturity.
Red bell peppers are harvested when they turn an even red color. The skin should be smooth. Wrinkling indicates that the pepper is overripe. Once harvested, red bell peppers can be kept fresh or dried.
About Our Red Bell Pepper
We source the finest red bell pepper from China. This Asian nation is the largest producer of bell peppers in the world. By sourcing bell pepper from China, we ensure that we always have enough fresh, high-quality red bell pepper for our loyal customers. Our red bell peppers are dried just after harvesting so that their flavor is concentrated and they stay fresh for a long time.