Bell Pepper seeds
Botanical name: Capsicum annum
Peppers belong to the Capsicum genus and to the Solanaceae family, just like chilli. The most cultivated variety is Capsicum Annuum. In any case, it is a characteristic vegetable of the summer season and has been cultivated for centuries all over the world, from Europe to China and Peru: this explains why it is present in the traditional recipes of many countries. Widespread in many different varieties, it differs primarily in the color of the peel, which can be red or yellow. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the green pepper is an unripe specimen. In addition, the varieties are distinguished by size, flavor and shape of the vegetables.
To properly develop, the pepper plant needs fertile soil and a warm climate; sowing takes place at the end of February and the fruits are ripe in June-July. If you plant the seeds at a different time, you have an extra seasonal harvest.
Origins and history
Especially loved and appreciated in the southern regions (the Spanish gazpacho and the Sicilian peperonata are well known), the pepper is a plant native to South America and imported with other animal species and plants in Europe since the sixteenth century. Originally he was a native of Brazil, but at the time of Columbus' arrival in the Antilles he was already present in Central America as well.
Nutritional and beneficial properties
Pepper is a vegetable whose consumption is recommended during the summer season: in fact it is composed of 92% water and contains a large amount of mineral salts, especially potassium, phosphorus, calcium , iron and magnesium. In addition, its percentage of vitamin C is four times that of citrus fruits, so as to favor the absorption of iron, the development of muscles and the body's resistance to infections.
Just think that 50 grams of red peppers equals 75% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. These vegetables are also very rich in vitamins E, B, J and K, fiber and vitamin A : in this way the peppers fight the action of free radicals, prevent cellular aging, cardiovascular diseases and the appearance of tumors and allow you to maintain your figure.
They give a sense of satiety, even if the calories consumed are few. Finally, especially in red pepper, there are high levels of carotene and capsaicin: the first substance helps to purify the body, while the second has antibacterial, anticancer properties, analgesic and antidiabete.
Use of the Bell Pepper in the kitchen
The consumption of pepper can be difficult for some people who find it heavy and indigestible; this is explained on the one hand by the presence of cellulose on the peel and on the other by the fact that the vegetable contains solanine. This substance is sometimes rejected by the body. The peppers with lower levels of solanine are those grown in summer with exposure to the sun and colored; on the contrary, it is the green specimens that contain a greater percentage.
Vegetables can be cooked in various ways (au gratin, stuffed, roasted, with pasta) or eaten raw: in this case, to avoid them being too heavy, it is recommended to remove the skin after searing the vegetable for a few minutes in boiling water and having passed it under cold water.
It is advisable to choose a shiny, solid specimen, with the stalk attached and taut skin. Among the stuffed peppers, those filled with ricotta, salt, olive oil, pepper and chopped parsley and mint are very popular. Other very tasty recipes are the skewers of pepper slices and chicken pieces and the grilled fish and red peppers. Finally, you can also fry the vegetable, choosing the longer varieties suitable for that cooking method: they are called "friggitelli".
Peppers come in very different forms: they can be elongated, bell-shaped, round or slightly quadrangular. At the same time, the flavor also changes considerably, ranging from strong and spicy to delicate and sweet. Depending on the variety, the size of the vegetable is also different. Pepper has the ability to inhibit nitrosamines and carcinogens responsible in particular for brain tumor, however the content of various vitamins is reduced by as much as 60% with cooking.