Capsicums are grown in Australia all year round but are abundant in Queensland during winter.
Also known as a bell pepper, capsicums like chilli peppers originated in South America where seeds of a wild variety are believed to date back to 5,000 B.C. The various coloured capsicums all come from the same plant, but differ in their level of maturity. Most capsicums turn red on ripening, but there are also yellow, orange. As the fruit ripens, it loses some of the sharpness of green capsicums and becomes sweeter and more nutritious. The bright pigments in capsicums are not only beautiful, they’re part of the reason these fine vegetables are so good for you. Each pigment is an important phytochemical that helps protect cells from damage.
Green Capsicums are harvested before they are fully ripe. Green capsicums will continue to first turn yellow and then red if they are left on the plant to mature. They have a slightly bitter flavor and crunchy texture and will never have the sweet taste of their red, yellow and orange counterparts.
More mature than green capsicums, yellow capsicums have a fruity taste yet milder than their orange or red counterparts. Yellow varieties taste fantastic grilled and add fantastic colour to stir-fries.
Like yellow capsicums, orange capsicums are a bit less flavourful than red capsicums but just as sweet. Use them raw in salads or roast them up to add their bright orange sunshine to dishes.
These are more mature than green, orange or yellow capsicums. They are rich in carotenoid phytonutrients and contain almost eleven times more beta-carotene than green capsicums as well as one and a half times more vitamin C. Red capsicums have a sweet, almost fruity taste. Their bright colour and sweet flavour make them perfect for tossing into salads. When roasted red capsicums become silken and luscious. Pimento and paprika are both prepared from red capsicums.
Choose those that are firm with glossy, smooth skins. Slice fresh capsicums into strips and add their sweet crispness to your next meal. Add to piping hot soups, casseroles or pasta sauce for a colourful winter warmer.
Whole capsicums should be stored in your refrigerator crisper. Once cut, place capsicums in a reusable plastic container or plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
Capsicums are a good source of Vitamins A, B6 and C, and folate.
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