Logo   (Since 1999)

Food Articles, News & Features Section

Home      Food Articles      Food Trivia      Today in Food History      Recipes      Cooking Tips      Videos      Food Quotes      Who's Who      Food Trivia Quizzes      Crosswords      Food Poems      Cookbooks      Food Posters      Recipe Contests      Culinary Schools      Gourmet Tours      Food Festivals & Shows

 You are here > Home > Food Articles

Vegetable Articles >  For Whom the Bell (Pepper) Tolls



From Amateur & Basic Cooking Classes to Professional Chef Training
Over 1,000 schools & classes listed for U.S., Online & Worldwide

Culinary Posters and Food Art

For Whom the Bell Tolls


FOOD FOR THOUGHT - May 10, 2006 - Mark R. Vogel - Archive of other articles by Mark Vogel

Recipe below
Two decades ago while working on a psychiatric unit, I was engaged in a conversation with one of the schizophrenic patients about his vegetable garden.  He mentioned that he grew bell peppers.  Being completely culinarily and horticulturally ignorant at the time, I thought that green and red bell peppers were two entirely different plants.  The patient chuckled at my naiveté and explained that red bell peppers were simply green ones that had ripened.  He may have been psychotic, but I was the one out of touch with reality.

     Bell peppers, like all peppers, belong to a large group of plants known as the nightshade family, which also includes potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant.  Bell peppers are in the same genus as hot peppers but bell peppers however, have a recessive gene that eliminates their capsaicin, the substance that fuels the hot pepper’s fire.
     Bell peppers originated in South America sometime around 5,000 BC.  Bell and hot peppers were a mainstay in the native populations’ diet for millennia.  Columbus is credited for bringing them back to Spain where they quickly were incorporated into the cuisine.  In fact, because of their adaptability, they could be planted in a greater range of climates.  This further expedited their assimilation into the culinary profile of numerous cultures. 

     Bell peppers, so named for their bell shape, are also known as sweet peppers.  They possess a thick, sweet, and juicy flesh.  They come in a rainbow of colors including green, red, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, and striped.  The green and the purple tend to be the least sweet; almost slightly bitter, while the yellow, orange, and particularly the red are the most sweet.  The green however, are almost always the cheapest. 

     Bell peppers are available year long although they are most abundant in August and September.  California and Florida lead the way in domestic production.  Choose peppers that have a firm, shiny skin, free of wrinkles, blemishes or soft spots.  Store in the fridge in a bag for no more than a week.  Bell peppers are high in vitamins C and A, but also contain B vitamins, calcium, iron, phosphorous, niacin, fiber, and beta-carotene, (especially the red ones).
     There are so many things you can do with bell peppers I almost don’t know where to start.  First of all, they are amenable to a wide variety of cooking methods but the dry heat methods, (sautéing, grilling, broiling, baking, etc.), produce the most intense flavor.  Bell peppers can be julienned or chopped, and sautéed solo or in combination with any number of other vegetables as a side dish or topping.  They’re good in salads and crudités platters where they add not only a crunchy texture but a dazzling array of eye-catching colors.  They can be stuffed and baked, pureed into a sauce, finely chopped into salsas and chutneys, or dried and ground into a powder.  Once pureed or dried and ground, they can be incorporated in multifarious preparations such as pasta and bread dough, vegetable dishes, risotto or rice pilaf, mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, etc.  To dry bell peppers, remove the seeds and stem, cut into strips and place them into a 200 degree oven overnight.  When dry, grind them in a spice grinder. 


     Peppers are frequently roasted first to remove their skins.  If you add pieces of bell pepper to a dish and cook them, the skins will become detached.  The fibrous skins will infiltrate your dish, making it taste like you sprinkled it with tiny magazine clippings.  Removing the skins first by roasting them eschews this problem.  Moreover, roasting the peppers intensifies their flavor.  Remember, the roasted peppers will not need to be cooked as long as raw ones. 

     To roast peppers place them on a pan just underneath a fully heated broiler.  As they turn black, rotate them.  Or cut the peppers down their shoulders, (where the curved edges meet), and remove the seeds and stems to produce flat wedges of pepper.  Place these pieces under the broiler and you needn’t worry about turning them.  Peppers can also be roasted on top of the stove by simply placing them directly on the gas or electric burner or on the grill.  Finally, they can also be briefly dropped in hot oil to detach the skin.  Once roasted, place them in a sealed container to steep for a few minutes.  This will facilitate the skin’s extraction


The different colored peppers in this recipe add a bright dimension for the eyes as well as the taste buds.


    • Half a red bell pepper, finely diced
    • Half an orange bell pepper, finely diced
    • Olive oil, as needed.
    • 2 tablespoon butter
    • 2 cups water or chicken broth
    • 12 oz couscous
    • Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté the peppers in olive oil and butter until just soft.  Meanwhile, start bringing the water or broth to a boil.  Add the couscous, salt, and pepper to the bell peppers and sauté for another minute or two.  Pour the boiling water over the couscous, cover, turn off the heat and let stand for five minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork, taste for additional salt and pepper, and serve.



Vegetable Articles       LETTUCE & LEAFY GREENS >>>       MUSHROOMS & FUNGI >>>       ALLIUM: ONIONS & LEEKS >>>      ROOTS & TUBERS >>>       SQUASH & GOURDS >>>       Ackee, Akee, Achee       Alien Vegetables       Artichokes, Tips & Facts       Artichokes, All Choked Up       Asparagus       Asparagus, Herald of Spring       Avocado, Details & Varieties       Avocados, General & Recipes       Avocado History       Avocado Season in California       Beans, Fava Beans: The GB&U      Beans: Fresh Bean Varieties       Beans, A Hill of Beans & Recipes       Beans, Dried Black Turtle Beans       Black Eyed Peas       Bell Peppers       For Whom the Bell (Pepper) Tolls       Broccoli: Cabbage Sprout       Broccoli       When Did Brussels Sprout?       Brussels Sprouts, Selection & Preparation       Cabbage       Cactus, Prickly Pear       Cauliflower       Celery       Celery Root Remoulade       Chili Peppers, WHY are they hot?       Chili Peppers       Chiles, Some Like It Hot       Corn       Corn, A-Maize-ing II       Cranberries, Leaving Turkey Aside       Cucumbers, Facts & Varieties       Eggplant: Identity Crisis       Eggplant, Description & Tips       Eggplant (Aubergine) Season       Lentils       Okra, History & Facts       Okra, Types & Tips       Peas       Peas in a Pod       Plantains       Poblano Chile Peppers       Purcell Mtn Farms       Rhubarb       Spinach       Sprouts, All About Sprouts       Sprouts, Types & Tips       Tamarillo, Tree Tomato       Tomatoes: Heirlooms & Recipes       Tomatoes, More History & Facts       Tomato Varieties & Use       Tomatillo
Home       About Us & Contact Us       Food Articles       Free Food Magazines      Food Links

Please feel free to link to any pages of from your website.

For permission to use any of this content please E-mail:

All contents are copyright © 1990 - 2014 James T. Ehler and unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved.

You may copy and use portions of this website for non-commercial, personal use only.

Any other use of these materials without prior written authorization is not very nice and violates the copyright.

Please take the time to request permission.








Order Free Food & Kitchen Catalogs


FREE Food & Beverage Publications
An extensive selection of free magazines and other publications for qualified Food, Beverage & Hospitality professionals

Chef with red wine glass