Bell peppers are fruits even though most people think of them as vegetables. They are among the most familiar items in the produce aisle, but – just like the fact that they are fruits – there are quite a few things about these valuable, flavorful peppers that may surprise you. Take a look at these six bell pepper facts which may have you looking at this fruit in new ways.
Bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges.
Bell peppers are full of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that you need for a healthy immune system among other major benefits. The nutritional value of bell peppers varies by color, which includes its vitamin C content. A green bell pepper will have around 95 mg of the vitamin, while an orange only has about 70 mg. A red bell pepper will provide you with over 150 mg of the nutrient.
Bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamin A.
All colors of the bell pepper will provide you with a high concentration of vitamin A, but the red bell pepper will give you the highest of them all. A 100-gram serving will provide you with a little more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. As with vitamin C, the red pepper will provide you with a higher concentration of vitamin A; however, all bell peppers are excellent sources of it regardless of color.
The color of a bell pepper typically indicates ripeness, not variety.
For many, this is one of the more surprising bell pepper facts – simply because most don’t think about it. The most common bell pepper colors are red, yellow, and orange. These colors typically indicate how ripe the pepper is in comparison to a green bell pepper. These different colors do not necessarily signify a different type of bell pepper.
In most cases, green bell peppers are the least ripe while red bell peppers are fully ripe. The fruit usually starts out green and then proceeds to yellow then orange and finally red. However, some varieties will ripen from green to yellow or go from green to red or another color without passing through an intermediary stage. Some simply stay green.
Harvested bell peppers retain their color.
Bell peppers that change their color only do so if they are still attached to the pepper plant. What this means is that once you harvest a bell pepper, its color is fixed. Green bell peppers that are no longer on the tree will stay green and yellow bell peppers won’t progress to the orange stage of ripening or beyond.
Riper bell peppers are sweeter.
Ripe red bell peppers typically have a higher sugar content than less mature peppers, which is why they have a naturally sweeter taste. Green bell peppers usually have a savory taste similar to the slightly bitter, grassy flavor of celery. As with other ripe fruits, the increased sweetness results from starches in the walls of the fruit being broken down to fructose. The resulting fruit is tastier to animals and therefore more likely to be consumed and the seeds distributed.
Ripe bell peppers cost more because they need more care.
The cost of the bell pepper is also tied to the amount of time and resources involved in caring for pepper plants. Because ripe bell peppers spend more time on the trees, they require more resources over the time it takes for them to mature. They cost the farmer more money to produce. The cost of growing them is passed on to the consumer.