Hand drawn image of Pepper

Pepper

Capsicum anuum

Peppers are sweet, crisp and very versatile. They’ll add crunch to salads, colour to stir-fries and smoky sweetness to a plate of roasted veg.

Image of Pepper being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

Both the long tapering Romano and standard bell peppers are fairly hardy and, if kept in the fridge, can last up to 2 weeks.

Prep & Cooking tips

You want to cut away the stems, seeds and white internal ribs before using. Easily done by cleaving them in half and trimming away anything that looks pithy and seedy. You can slice them, dice them or keep them whole for stuffing. If roasting they are best kept whole; the insides can be removed post cooking and the black and blistered skin can be peeled away and discarded too.

You can use them raw in a salad but cooking reveals their full potential. Hollowed and halved, they make a perfect vehicle for stuffings. Sliced thinly, they can be sweated down in a frying pan with a tangle of onions until soft; this makes an ideal base for a paella or goulash. They become sweet and tender when cooked until the skin blisters; do this in a hot oven, under a fierce grill or on the bars of a flaming BBQ. Peel away the skin to reveal lobes of tender flesh.

Easy ideas

1. Raw

They are ideal sliced into salads; slice thinly as too large a chunk can be a challenge. A raw pepper is one of the key ingredients of a cold gazpacho soup, along with tomatoes and cucumber.

2. In a pan

They work well in a quick stir-fry and add a good flash of colour, but the flavour isn’t too much of a departure from the raw taste. A little more time and heat really brings out their flavour. Slice thinly and cook them down gently with some onions for 20-30 mins or so until you have a soft, sweet tangle. This makes a great base for a paella, goulash or Mediterranean stew. The classic Italian dish peperonata is simply peppers, garlic, onions and tomatoes cooked down into a rich sauce.

3. In the oven

Roasting them whole not only softens and sweetens them but adds a smoky flavour. Keep them whole, rub them with a little oil and roast them on a high heat, turning often, until the skin blisters and blackens. Allow them to cool in a bowl covered with clingfilm (this makes the skins easier to remove). Peel away the skin and remove the insides. They can then be added to salads or mezze plates, used to enrich sauces or stews or are perfect as pizza topping or tart fillings. Try and conserve any roasting juices as they can be mixed with a little oil and vinegar to make a companionable dressing.

Try this recipe for Smoky quinoa stuffed peppers with sheep’s cheese

Goes well with

Anchovies
Cheese (Feta, Goat’s, Mozzarella)
Chilli and paprika
Eggs
Garlic
Herbs (Basil, Marjoram, Oregano)
Olives and olive oil
Pork
Lamb
Chicken
Tomatoes

Pepper recipes

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In the field

  • Meet the grower: Naturcharc, Almeira, Spain

    Naturcharc grow all sorts of tasty essentials to help us keep our boxes full including sweet bell peppers, Padron peppers, crunchy cucumbers and courgettes.

    Read more

Seasonality

The UK season spans the warmer summer months – July to September.
jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec

Varieties

  • Picture of Bell peppers

    Bell peppers

    The standard mild, sweet, fleshy pepper. Immature fruit are green and slightly bitter, becoming sweeter as they ripen and turn yellow orange or red. They are fairly hardy and keep well.

  • Picture of Romano peppers

    Romano peppers

    Long and tapering - although they look like a giant chilli, they taste more like sweet, full-flavoured bell peppers. They have slightly thinner skin so can take a little less time to cook.

  • Picture of Sweet peppers

    Sweet peppers

    They may look like hot chillies, but in fact they’re full of extra sweet flavour. They add fantastic crunch to salads and colour to stir-fries. Or make conveniently bite-sized treats by stuffing them full of ricotta, feta, cream cheese – or anything else your imagination can conjure up.

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