It's harvest time here in the Northeast or Midwest, however you like to categorize us Buffalonians (just please don't let that 4 letter word run through your head. See you did it, and no it's not snowing here). I'm bringing in 3 varieties of peppers, tomatoes, basil, kale, edamame, etc....My peppers taste nothing like those store bought babies. Yes, the store varieties may be pretty and all, but they've got nothing in terms of taste that my peppers have! In fact, everyone who eats them exclaims how awesome they taste. The store varieties are grown for size and color. Mine are grown for flavor, and the color and beauty just comes along for the ride.
But one of the least known facts about peppers is that they are packed with Vitamin C. WAY more than that other fruit of orange color (yes, you may not know that peppers are a fruit-they have seeds. Sorry-the science teacher in me comes out all the time). Oranges get all the attention when it comes to the awesomely powerful antioxidant Vitamin C, great for healing wounds and boosting immunity, and decreasing inflammation in the body. However, one cup of raw, chopped red bell pepper packs an impressive 190.3 milligrams of vitamin C. The same amount of a green pepper has 119.8 milligrams! Compare that to your standard orange, which provides 82.7 milligrams of vitamin C (Source). Hey-and did you know that a red pepper is one that has ripened longer on the vine that a green pepper. Same plant, just longer ripening, which is why its vitamin content increases. Ripe foods contain higher levels of nutrients than unripened ones. Take a look at this pepper below. It's in the process of ripening from green to red.
The NIH recommends men get 90 mg and women get 75 mg of Vitamin C daily. Vitamin C is water soluble, so you excrete what you don't need. Don't take that to mean overconsumption is a great idea. Eating you foods versus taking them in pill form is ideal. Eating an overabundance of any one vitamin is taxing on the system, so vary your food sources.
We love stuffed peppers as a dinner in our house. I stuff them with whatever veggies I have on hand and mix them with a protein source like lentils, beans, quinoa, or rice, and some fresh herbs/seasonings. I recently posted a great recipe that uses in-season zucchini, tomatoes, basil, and greens in a hearty filling. The filling is great on its own, but stuffing them adds a nice touch to the final presentation and boosts the fiber and nutritional content.
Recipe for Summer Stuffed Peppers
For more on recipes using peppers, check out these links (more on site, search peppers):
Garden Fresh Salsa (which I just made again)
Happy harvesting or cooking!
Jessica of www.gardenfreshfoodie.com