Food & Nutrition
Bell Pepper: How to Select, Cut & Cook
Bell pepper: How to select quality and fresh. How do you cut bell pepper during preparation? And most important, how do you cook bell pepper? What is the healthiest way to cook bell peppers? Read more to learn the answers
How to select, cut and cook bell pepper are three very important steps you should learn in order to rip all the health benefits of bell peppers. Bell peppers are available all throughout the year since they are not seasonal vegetable plants. For this reason you need to include this nutritious fruit in your diet. However not every kind of this fruit you see out there is of good quality and even if it is of good quality, you need tips to prepare and cook. Let us look at;
- How to select quality and fresh bell pepper
- How to cut bell pepper
- How to cook bell pepper
How to select bell pepper
To select quality and fresh bell pepper, there a few clues you need consider before throwing it into your basket. You need to look at color, texture, weight etc. The table below briefly highlights how to select fresh and quality bell pepper.
Bell Pepper Selection Tips
|Feels firm and fresh||Excessively soft|
|Glossy appearance(shiny and smooth)||Dull appearance, dry and rough|
|Intact skins||Skins with wrinkles, cracks, spots and slashes|
|Fresh stems||Shriveled skin|
|Wholesome and heavy in hand||Unhealthy , light and without uniform sizes|
Once at home, should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag where they will stay fresh for not more than 7 days. If stored for prolonged periods they may sustain chill injury and obviously lose their quality and nutritional value.
How to cut bell pepper
After selecting your belly pepper the next step, if you have chosen not store it for some other day, is to cut the fruit. Below is a guide on how to cut bell pepper.
Wash the pepper under cold running water before cutting it. In cases where the pepper has been waxed; usually done to protect it from pests and rodents, scrub it gently but thoroughly with a natural brush. To make slicing easier the stem and seeds should be detached first. For stuffed pepper, cutting is not necessary.
Detaching of the stem can be done in two ways.
a) Cut half lengthwise and then cut out and discard stem, inner membrane and seeds.
Slicing can be done into rings or strips. Remember to place the skin side down on the cutting surface. Thicker slices are preferable for diced(cubes: not very small pieces) while thinner are best for minced(cut into very small pieces)
a) For strips cut the pepper into halves the slice halves lengthwise into strips then cut across the strips to dice or mince.
How to cook bell pepper
You have already seen how to select bell pepper and how cut bell pepper. In this section, you are going to cook your bell pepper. So, how do you cook Bell pepper ? Some of the methods which you can use to cook bell pepper include;
- Cooking bell pepper by Frying
- Cooking bell pepper by stuffing and Baking
- Cooking bell pepper by Grilling
- Cooking bell pepper by Roasting
- Cooking bell pepper by Steaming
How to cook bell pepper by frying
First follow the guidelines above on how to select bell pepper. Then wash and cut as per the steps we have already seen above. Next step?
Heat enough olive oil to cover the base of a frying pan over medium heat for a minute then add the peppers in a single layer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are just tender. This should take 5-10 minutes.
How to cook bell pepper by stuffing and baking
Bell peppers are amongst the top vegetables suitable for stuffing or filling. In this method we are going to fill our pepper with spiced beef-rice mixture.
- 3 green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed (reserve tops)
- 3/4 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 3/4 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons long grain white rice
- 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons water
- 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 pinch salt
- 3/4 pinch ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Cut off enough reserved green pepper tops ; discard remaining tops or use for another purpose. Set chopped pepper aside.
- Place hollowed-out green peppers in a microwave-safe dish; cover and cook in microwave until bright green and steaming, about 3 minutes. Set peppers aside.
- Cook and stir ground beef in a skillet with reserved chopped pepper tops and onion over medium heat until beef is browned, the juices run clear, and the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes; drain excess grease. Pour in diced tomatoes with their juice, rice, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and simmer until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Stir cheese into ground beef-rice mixture and spoon mixture into precooked peppers. Set peppers upright in an 8×8-inch baking dish.
- Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and the peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
How to cook bell pepper by roasting
- After washing the peppers halve lengthwise, and remove contents(stems, seeds and membranes)
- Place pepper halves, cut sides down, on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes and then remove from oven
- Bring foil up around peppers to enclose and let stand until cool.
- Use a sharp knife to loosen edges of the skins; gently pull off the skins in strips and discard.
What is the Healthiest Way to Cooking Bell Peppers?
According to whfoods.org, the healthiest method is Health Sauté . Why? Because this method of cooking bell pepper offers the greatest flavor. In addition to flavor, this method also allows for concentrated nutrient preservation.
Heat 3 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a skillet. Add sliced red bell peppers once bubbles begin to form cover. Leave the bell pepper healthy Sauté for 3 minutes on medium heat then add 2 TBS broth, then cook uncovered on low heat for another 4 minutes while stirring constantly.
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