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Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. If you thought citrus fruits packed a powerful punch when it comes to being a good source of vitamin C, peppers have them beat. Green peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits, and this powerful punch of vitamin C is an antioxidant that may be effective in preventing certain cancers. Red bell peppers have three times as much vitamin C as the green varieties and are a good source of beta carotene.
Bell peppers can be found in a rainbow of colors and can vary in flavor. The variety of the pepper plant and the stage of the ripeness determine the flavor and color of each pepper. For example, a red bell pepper is simply a mature green bell pepper. As a bell pepper ages, its flavor becomes sweeter and milder. Red bell peppers contain eleven times more beta carotene than green bell peppers.
Bell peppers are available and are in good supply all year, but they are more plentiful and less expensive during the summer months. Fresh peppers come in variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, but when selecting them, they all follow the same guidelines. Their skin should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. They should feel heavy for their size. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.
Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.
Make Bell Peppers Part of Your 5 A Day Plan
* Use them to create colorful and exciting meals by adding a mixture of different colored sliced or chopped peppers to your favorite salads, pastas, and Chinese or Mexican dishes.
* They can be used as a colorful garnish.
* Include sliced peppers on your next veggie tray.
* Carve out peppers and stuff them with rice or use them as colorful containers for dips or other edible items.
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