The Secret(s) To Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are mainstays in most of our produce drawers at home, and in professional kitchens. They form the base of mirepoix and sofritos that elevate our sauces and soups, fill out our fajitas, and get stuffed with everything from sausage to rice. 

But have you ever wondered why they come in so many colors and, more importantly, why they vary so much in price? It's not a matter of pigment discrimination: Red and yellow bell peppers are essentially just green peppers that have been allowed to ripen. Red peppers are fully ripened, and they require more time to grow, resulting in their sweeter, fruitier flavor and higher price sticker. Green bell peppers can be harvested sooner, they're cheaper to grow and sell, in addition to having a trademark grassy, mildly bitter flavor. Yellow peppers are simply in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to ripeness (though some varieties remain yellow when fully mature).

Try roasting bell peppers over high flames until their flesh is totally charred, seal them in a paper bag for 10 minutes to allow the black bits to steam away from the tender flesh inside. Peel away the skin, and reveal super sweet, smokey flesh that can be used in everything from posole, to tacos, to middle eastern dips like muhamarra. Raw bell peppers of delicious thrown into salads, and are equally nice baked right onto pizzas and into calzones.

About the Chef

Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.