When you think of eating a piece of fruit or a fresh vegetable, you typically look for the ripest one of the bunch. Often when we go to the store, we notice green bananas are not quite ready to be consumed, and yellow bananas are perfect for our taste buds. Did you know the same can be said for red bell peppers? These peppers originally are green bell peppers – but only after being left some time to fully ripen. It is an incredible change they undergo – from dense, forest colored green to a very vibrant hue of red as they ripen.
During this process, the flavor also changes. Red bell peppers are typically sweeter in taste, whereas green bell peppers are far milder, sometimes even bitter. Both varieties are perfectly edible though – and while I enjoy them both, I do tend to prefer green bell peppers more. This is why you may notice when I harvest my bell peppers, they are more often than not of the green variety.
One of the most interesting aspects about cultivating bell peppers is how they also change in nutritional value as they mature. In the case of red bell peppers, they contain higher levels of lycopene and astaxanthin, two important carotenoids. An easy way to reap all of the unique nutritional benefits of bell peppers is to find a few different colors, and create a salsa by blending and mashing them together. They taste great, and are great for your health too.
Talk about a simple process that many people may not even realize! It is fascinating to see how the natural growth of plant-life can so drastically influence the appearance and taste as we see so dramatically with bell peppers.
For more on bell peppers, check out From Mild to Hot: 10 Reasons to Add Bell Peppers to Your Diet!
What is your favorite bell pepper? Let me know in the comments below!