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A green pepper, also called a bell pepper, is a slightly sweet fruit used in many cuisines from different regions. Unlike its spicy cousins, the green pepper has little to no perceptible heat and may be safely enjoyed by those who dislike spicy foods. Green peppers are delicious in a variety of recipes, but care must be taken when purchasing to ensure the best flavor.
Green peppers are an confusing vegetable, as it is difficult to tell if available specimens are ripe. Other types of bell pepper, such as red, yellow, and orange peppers, turn green before they ripen. Frequently, the green peppers available in the grocery store are actually unripe yellow or red peppers, and are far less sweet and more bitter. Additionally, there are green peppers that stay green when ripe, making the choice even more confusing. It may be advisable to grow peppers at home or purchase them directly from farmers if the taste difference is a problem.
Green pepper plants are easily found at nurseries and garden supply stores, and grow well throughout temperate climates. Peppers can be grown from seeds or small plants. If grown from seeds, peppers should be planted at the end of winter or in early spring. Many experts recommend letting seeds mature indoors and transferring to outdoor beds or containers after two or three months. Peppers will produce fruit throughout the year depending on the general climate.
Having obtained a supply of green peppers, the question becomes how best to prepare them. Some people enjoy eating green peppers raw, as they are a crunchy and sweet addition to salads and crudite platters. Recipes that use green pepper often fit into Mediterranean and South American cuisine.
A stuffed green pepper is a beautiful and delicious treat that can be made with a variety of fillings. To make, slice the top off a green pepper and reserve. Hollow out the pepper, carefully removing all seeds. Fill pepper with cheese, ground beef, rice, beans, or other vegetables and replace the top. The pepper can then be baked in the oven, or dipped in batter and deep fried. Stuffed peppers can be customized to match any cuisine depending on the filling; Czech, Mexican, Italian, and even Israeli versions are all easily created.
Green peppers are also included in pickling mixes for a tangy, flavorful treat. To make green pepper pickles, combine peppers, onions and a hot pepper in a sterilized jar. In a stock pot, boil cider vinegar, salt, and any combination of pickling spices, such as dill, coriander, fennel seeds, and peppercorns. Pour vinegar mixture into pickle jar and return to heat in a water-filled pot. After cooking, cool the mixture and store carefully.