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Bell pepper: The kitchen essential

Hailing from South America, the pepper is crowned as one of the essential ingredients of the Mediterranean diet. Its aroma, texture and versatility in cooking have led to become one of the great essential in our traditional recipes. From salads, stews to rice and side dishes of meat and fish, pepper gives the dish a unique flavor. It also contains an extensive list of beneficial nutrition and its conservation and cooking is very simple.

Origin and cultivation

 Origin and cultivation

Origin and cultivation

Pepper adapted perfectly to the Mediterranean area, although it came to Europe with Christopher Columbus after his first voyage to America in 1493. It began to be cultivated in Europe in 16th century, and thereafter spread throughout the continent.

This is the fruit of the pepper plant and its scientific name is Capsicum annuum. It belongs, like other vegetables such as tomatoes, to the Solanaceae family grown during the summer months in almost all regions with a temperate and warm climate. Its skin is characterized by an extraordinary smoothness and premature passing of green to red to yellow.

Excellent for health

Pepper consists almost entirely of water, hence it has a very low calorie level. It is very rich in vitamins, especially C, which enhances the absorption of iron, and to a lesser extent vitamin A, beneficial to the eyes, hair and bones, and vitamin E, all of which have antioxidant properties. It also contains minerals essential for proper functioning of the body, for example, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.

It is also beneficial in the following cases:

-For pregnant women, for their contribution of folate, needed for the baby to develop normally.

-For affected by intestinal problems, since it is a good regulator to contain fiber.

-For people who are on a diet, because pepper has little energy and favors the elimination of liquids.

It is recommended to be used by people with hypertension. It strengthens our defenses by its antioxidant action.

Buy and keep

The most important thing when purchasing a quality peppers is to check that flesh is hard and firm, the skin is bright with crisp stems. Also, never take bruised or stained specimens, because that means they have spent a long period of time in stores and their properties will be reduced greatly.

For peppers to stay healthy and fresh as long as possible, we recommend introducing them into a plastic bag with holes and put them in a fridge. Thus it endures well for two weeks. A frequent choice is to freeze, and so we must remove the stem, seeds and wash them. Put it in the freezer without wrapping, and once it’s cooled rigid put it in special bags to enjoy it up to 12 months.

When eating…

 When eating...

When eating...

You can cook peppers in many ways, but the most common is to roast or fry. Although fried are really good, it is not recommended to abuse this dish because they absorb too much oil. If you have cholesterol problems or overweight, eat them roasted.

As a garnish for meat or fish, creams, stews, rice dishes or sauces peppers give it a unique flavor. We can use it raw in salads, where its vitamins will be used to the maximum, and we can make chutneys and jams with it. You can cook it in the microwave to reduce the amounts of fat.

Finally, we cannot forget that paprika is the result of grinding the dried fruit of red pepper and its main use is in the restoration, as a condiment in many dishes, or as a preservative for meats.

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