I promised you a Food for Thought on peppers this week, combined with a great recipe and tips for using peppers (especially if you’re a newbie). Personally, I never liked peppers – ever – until I started cooking for myself and got married, trying new recipes. My dad dislikes them a lot, so my poor roommate in college even had to show me how to cut them because I’d never seen it done.
- “Bell” peppers are the big ones that you see everywhere: green, red, orange and yellow. They are good raw in salads or with a dip, stuffed, sauteed in fajitas or over brats, and diced in many dinner dishes. You can also cook and puree peppers to “hide” in things like spaghetti sauce and casseroles if your kids won’t do the see-um veggie thing.
- “Sweet” peppers are the same as bell peppers.
- “Hot” or “chili” peppers are smaller and spicy! Usually people would group together things like jalapeno, habanero, serrano, and chili peppers. Add great flavor and zing to Mexican and other dishes with hot peppers!
- “Ribs” are the white lines on the inside of the peppers. Most people say to pull these out, but I’ve seen info that says they’re healthy, too. Go figure.
Both red/orange bell and hot peppers are super foods; basic green bell peppers aren’t included. They don’t take as long to ripen on the plant, and they’re not as nutrient-dense. For those who don’t love the flavor of peppers, this works out well because red peppers are much more mild and don’t affect the overall taste of the dish as much as a green peppers. They are unfortunately more expensive. That’s why it’s important to stock up in reduced produce and in the summer at the Farmer’s Market. I can usually chop/slice and freeze enough in the summer to last almost through winter.
Health Benefits and Nutrition of Peppers
Red and orange bell peppers are a great source of Vitamin C (which tells you not to overcook them if you can help it – C is very water and heat sensitive). They go great raw in salads or with beans to help absorption of iron. Also a good source of folic acid, and Vitamins A and B6.
Hot peppers, much to my husband’s delight, are actually incredibly good for you!
- Capsaicin is the shining star in hot peppers. It helps lungs function more effectively. Who knew?
- Big nutrients include Vitamin C and beta carotene (Vit A)
- Diseases tackled by hot peppers include:
- respiratory ailments
- asthma (helps breathe more easily)
- sinus and nasal passage issues
- Hot peppers are also anti-carcinogenic (cancer) because they bind and remove carcinogens from the system. If you’re a smoker, at least eat lots of spicy peppers!
- Sources 1 2 3
- 1 red pepper
- 1 green pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Put all ingredients in a blender with a little olive oil, vinegar and salt.
- Place meat in deep baking dish or glass storage dish; poke holes in meat. Cover meat with puree and rub in.
- Pour marinade on top and refrigerate (covered) for at least 1 hour. Uncover and place in pre-heated oven (depending on meat used).
- Use on chicken, pork or beef.
I make a batch of this once a summer and use it MANY times. It seems to last fine in a glass jar in the refrigerator, and it certainly doesn’t take a whole batch for a normal amount of meat. It’s awesome for grilling chicken after marinating overnight, or I prepare a whole bunch of chicken and freeze it right in the marinade for quick and easy meals.
The only bummer is that I need to make my marinade at the beginning of the summer, and the Farmer’s Market doesn’t have peppers until August around here.
Other Super Food Health Benefits:
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