Common in the kitchen
Scoville heat units (SHU): 0
Jalapeño reference point: Zero heat, so 2,500 to 8,000 times milder
It’s at the bottom of the Scoville scale, but that certainly doesn’t make it less popular. The bell pepper: by far the most well-known member of the capsicum family. They are tasty, crunchy, healthy, sweet (at times), and of course easily found. They’re really a vegetable staple for the kitchen.
Are bell peppers chili peppers?the Scoville scale.
Why do bell peppers have no heat?
Bell peppers are the only member of the capsicum family that contain a recessive gene which stops them from producing capsaicin. Capsaicin is the natural compound which creates the hotness we experience when eating chilies. No capsaicin means no heat and a flat zero on the pepper scale.
Are different colors of bell peppers healthier for you?
They do come in colors like the rainbow, don’t they? You’ll find green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, reds, oranges, purples, and even browns and blacks. But are they different in terms of health? Yes, but it should be said that all bell peppers are extremely good for you, even with the lack of capsaicin.
The colors come mostly from their maturity level. Typically a pepper starts green (the green bell pepper) and matures into one of the many variety of colors. There are exceptions. One variety of bell remains green for its entire life (aptly named Permagreen). And there are varieties that start out more yellowish or purple than green.
All bell peppers have a ton of vitamins and antioxidants to them. They are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other vitamins and carotenoids. And the key to maxing out the benefit is all in the color. As bell peppers mature, their levels of all of these compounds increase too. So a fully mature red bell pepper will be chock full of these health benefits, sometimes over ten times more than what they had as a young green pepper!
Red bell peppers also have the benefit of containing lycopene, a very powerful carotenoid also found in tomatoes. It’s been linked to helping prevent cancer, heart disease, and diabetes among other amazing qualities. So if you’re looking to maximize your health benefit, lean towards the more mature peppers.
Do different bell pepper colors taste different?
They do. Again, it’s all about their maturity level, but also mix in the soil they are grown in and how they are kept after harvest. Typically young green bell peppers are more bitter in taste. As they age, bell peppers gain in sweetness. Ripe yellow and orange bell peppers are definitely going to taste sweeter than a green variety. And a red bell pepper trumps them all in sweetness.
Where can you buy bell peppers?
They’re also popular to grow in amateur gardens. Bell pepper seeds and plants are easy to find at plant stores or via online vendors. The bell pepper is so popular that there’s even a lot of art and kitchenware designed around the shape, from antique signs to salt and pepper shakers. And there’s more than a few recipe books that can show you the ways of using bell peppers in all sorts of meals.
This is one tasty, healthy, and versatile pepper. Likely you’re already using a bell pepper or two in your cooking, but like its chili cousins, maybe it’s time to explore using it even more. There are, after all, one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet.