A bell pepper will add flavor and vibrancy to many dishes regardless of its complexity or simplicity. The crunchy texture of this food makes it a good option for a seasoned chef whose looking to elevate a gourmet meal to a snacker who needs something to tie them over until their main meal time.
In this blog post, I will go into the health benefits of bell peppers and explore the age old debate of whether it is a fruit or vegetable. If you’re one who is as fascinated as I am on this food staple that can can fill a hungry belly, then you are in for a treat. Stay until the end and leave a comment on how you prepare bell peppers or leave a question you may have.
THE BIOLOGY OF A BELL PEPPER
In order to determine if a bell pepper is a fruit or vegetable, we should first explore the biology of this food. My research buffs may find this fascinating but I’ll limit this for the sake of those who want to get to the answer and the health benefits. Let’s first explain a bell pepper from a botanical viewpoint then compare it to a culinary point of view.
Botanically or from a biological perspective, a fruit contains seeds and grow from a flowering part of a plant. The flowering part consists of the petals, small leaf (sepals), the male reproductive organ (stamens) and the female reproductive organ (pistil). Through pollination, the seeds are formed and a fruit is developed similar to a sperm attaching to an egg resulting in an embryo. In this case a seed is present in a bell pepper. Therefore, by this description and definition, a bell pepper would then be classified as a fruit since it meets the definition.
THE TASTE OF A BELL PEPPER
Contrary to a fruit, a vegetable is not sweet but has more of a savory taste. A vegetable is used in an array of savory dishes. Bell peppers in this case would be classified as a vegetable since they are eaten raw or cooked in many dishes. As a plant based option, you see bell peppers in salads, sandwiches, soups, and even sauces. The taste of peppers just go well with savory dishes so we can’t rule it out as a vegetable in the culinary world.
Personally, I enjoy the versatility of bell peppers. I ‘m fond of the green, yellow, red and orange bell pepper which are readily available in my local supermarket and farmers markets. I have yet to to consistently find a purple bell pepper in my market but this is another one I enjoyed seeing in my dishes.
FIT BY COLORFUL PLANTS
I can recall, a cooking demonstration I did at The Richmond Veg Fest in 2016. It was important that I named the segment, ‘Fit By Colorful Plants: Optimize Your Health and Energy with Plant Based Nutrients’. I had a great time cooking and speaking at the festival. There was a full display of colorful bell peppers which I added to to my favorite Jamaican Ackee dish. I was blessed with the best audience who were both already on their plant based journey and others who had many questions as they were just beginning.
The ackee dish was also new to many a the festival and it received rave reviews. I will have to write a post on this particular dish at a later date along with the photos I took then. I have so many food images that I photographed dating back to 2013 and I’m glad I remembered to look in the archives for these lovely bell pepper images I took in 2016. Now I have these images for this particular blog post; Bell Pepper: Is it a fruit or a vegetable? You can see some of my other food photography work in my gallery here.
BELL PEPPERS IS A HEALTH FOOD
2016 brought on so many great memories and experiences. I was in the best shape of my life both physically and mentally this year as I was already five years into my plant based journey. I enjoyed cycling, running and doing barre several times a week and was a few years into developing my wellness business, Becoming You Lifestyle Management at this time as well. There were a few individuals who I was assisting in the business. They were determined to change their lifestyle (mental, physical and business too). I was super excited this year as I was creating new lanes for myself and people were resonating with it in a deep and appreciative way.
Whether you are a plant based eater or not, a bell pepper is a health food. There are many benefits and nutrients this superfood produces.
THE NUTRIENT CONTENTS OF A BELL PEPPER
Bell peppers are a low-calorie superfood and average about 30-40 calories depending on it’s size. They are a great source of vitamins such as vitamins A, B6, C, and E. Also, they are rich in folate, potassium and fiber. This is all the reasons you should incorporate this in your diet. Eat these if you are looking to boost your immune system, manage your weight, improve your digestive health and support your heart.
THE PROPER WAY TO SELECT AND STORE YOUR BELL PEPPER
The proper way to select and store your bell pepper will help you retain its freshness. I don’t know anyone who wants to bring home a bell pepper and then a few days later, have to trash it because it is suddenly spoiled. I have tried many hacks over the years and a few things I manage to do every time helps retain the freshness of the bell peppers. All I have to do is pop them in my favorite salad or them ready for the stove.
Here are a few things I do almost all the time when prepping bell peppers:
- A choose one with a firm and avoid ones with wrinkles or spots.
- I store them in my refrigerator as soon as I bring them home.
- I wash them with cold water and with a veggie wash to get rid of dirt and residue.
- I cut them in the sizes I want and freeze any excess I will not use within a few days.
- For any excess that will be used within a two days, I store them in a tightly sealed container, making sure to line the bottom with a paper towel to prevent moisture build up.
BELL PEPPERS: IS IT A FRUIT OR VEGETABLE
Now that we have gone over the debate, determine for yourself whether bell peppers are a fruit or vegetable for yourself. Since I use it mostly in savory dishes, I will stand by my decision to call it a vegetable. There is inspiration everywhere on how you can use this beautiful vegetable.
I have a recipe using bell peppers in the shop that you can download. Its my favorite fuss free way to make a dairy cheese alternative. You can add this Creamy Vegan Bell Pepper recipe to your shopping cart here. Feel free to share your experience with this recipe in the comment section which is below this post. Tag me in your social media post as well so that I can see how yours looks.
You can also pin the image above to your pinterest board. Enjoy!