related links

Learn more about peppers.

Try Joyce's recipes for Red Pepper Soup, Sweet and Sour Peppers with Almonds and Raisins and Peppers Stuffed with Eggplant.

Trade your favorite pepper recipes in FoodFit's Community.


Cooking Class

Sweet Peppers
by Joyce Goldstein

There's always a crowd around the stand at the farmer's market that has the multicolored peppers. The peppers glisten like jewels, red, yellow, green, purple, brown and variegated. Not only are they beautiful, but they are delicious and versatile. They can be eaten raw, in salads, or they can be roasted or grilled over a direct flame, or under a broiler. When their charred skins are removed, their tender and sweet flesh can be dressed with a tasty vinaigrette.

Pepper Preparations

Sautéed sweet peppers can be served as a vegetable side dish, a topping for sautéed chicken or cooked fish, or added to a stew for a flavor nuance. The larger bell peppers or pimientos can be hollowed out and stuffed, nature's perfect container for seasoned rice, or a meat and rice mixture or another vegetable such as eggplant.

Peppers are from the capsicum family and are rich in vitamins C and A. They are native to the Americas and were brought to Europe by the Spaniards after the voyage of Columbus. Peppers come in many sweet and hot varieties. The latter are better known as chilies. While sweet peppers are at the market all year long, they are at their peak in the fall.

Shapes and Sizes

Among the sweet varieties are banana peppers, pale yellow and about 5 inches long. The small ivory or very pale yellow wax peppers are very mild in flavor. We're probably most familiar with the bell peppers, which resemble their name. Bells start out green but, if left on the plant, turn red. Other bell varieties are yellow, orange, purple and brown. These vary in degrees of sweetness. The red, yellow, and orange peppers are the sweetest; green and purple may have a slightly bitter edge.

Cubanelle peppers are long and tapered, and either red or yellow. Pimientos or pimentos are fleshy, bright red, heart shaped, and deep in flavor. They come to market in the late fall. Bell and pimientos peppers are ideal for soups, roasting and stuffing. Gypsy peppers, a small triangle-shaped red pepper, another late fall variety, are similar to the much prized Spanish peppers called piquillo, and are an ideal vehicle for stuffing.

At most supermarkets, peppers are waxed. Roasting removes this coating easily because the skin comes off. But if the wax bothers you, and you plan to eat the peppers raw in a salad, you may want to wash them with warm, mildly soapy water to remove the wax, then wipe them dry.

You may love sweet peppers but they may not love you back. Cooking red and yellow peppers for a long time over low heat seems to make them more digestible. When roasting peppers, to keep maximum flavor, it is preferable to scrape away the charred peel with a knife. Washing the peppers under running water dilutes their taste. If the peel is stubborn, you may wet your hands and then peel the skin off with your fingers.

Try Joyce Goldstein's Recipes:

Red Pepper Soup
Peperoni Ripieni — Peppers Stuffed with Eggplant
Mandorlata di peperoni — Sweet and Sour Peppers with Almonds and Raisins


About Joyce Goldstein

Joyce Goldstein is a consultant to the restaurant and food industries. For 12 years she was chef/owner of the ground- breaking, award-winning Mediterranean restaurant SQUARE ONE in San Francisco. In addition, she taught cooking for 18 years. Joyce is the author of many cookbooks, including Back to Square One: Old World Food in a New World Kitchen, winner of both the Julia Child and James Beard Awards for Best General Cookbook of 1992 and Cucina Ebraica, Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. Two more books on Mediterranean Jewish cooking are in the works.

Sign up for FoodFit's FREE newsletters

Get healthy recipes, nutrition information and fitness tips!

privacy policy Submit


FoodFit is a part of HealthCentral
© 1999- The HealthCentral Network, Inc., Copyright All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy and Terms of Use