Wednesday, 20 November 2013

How to Chop a Sweet Bell Pepper

Bell peppers 

Sweet peppers, bell peppers, green peppers, red peppers, capsicums.

We have a lot of names for this particular vegetable (and yes, technically it is a fruit). It can be eaten raw or cooked. It freezes well. And it comes in a wide range of colours depending on the level of ripeness.

It also is filled with a lot of tiny seeds and it seems no matter how carefully you cut a pepper you always end up with those tiny little seeds scattered across your kitchen counter.

Until now!

About Sweet Bell Peppers

The bell pepper originates from Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America. It is a member of the Capsicum family which includes chillies. The sweet pepper is the only variety of capsicum however that does not produce capsaicin, the chemical in chillies which gives them their burning heat.

Most people eat the bell pepper in its unripe, green form. Once it ripens though it can turn beautiful colours of red, orange, yellow, and even a deep purple.

Peppers were carried to Europe by Columbus in 1493 and from there spread to the rest of the world. It was Columber who first called these fruits Peppers, though they are in no way related to the Piper nigrum, which produces black peppercorns. At the time, the name pepper, or pimenton, was given to any spice with a hot and pungent taste.

Chopping a Pepper

Step 1

Cut or break the stem off the pepper so that it can sit evenly on your chopping board. I sometimes do this at the grocery store if the stem is particularly long and I am paying for the pepper by weight. 

Step 2

Place the pepper stem side down.
Using a sharp knife and the lines on the peppers for guidance, cut off one of the sides of the pepper. Being careful not to cut into the seeds at the center.
Slice off the remaining sides in the same way.


Step 3

Trim off any of the white membrane remaining on the pepper sections.

The pepper can then be sliced, or chopped, for use in cooking.

It can also be frozen for use in cooking later. I like to chop several peppers at once, when I buy them on special, and keep in the freezer. I can then just break off a handful of the chopped peppers and put it directly into the food dish for cooking.

Discard the central core into your compost bin, or save the seeds to plant at home.