Sweet peppers – sometimes called bell peppers or capsicums – vary in colour from red, yellow, orange or green. Green peppers are the youngest and bitterest, followed by yellow and orange, then red, the sweetest. Romano peppers are longer, thinner and have a more intense flavour. Black-skinned peppers are also be available – for colour impact they’re best used raw as they turn green when cooked. The pepper family includes not only the large, mild peppers but also hot chilli peppers.
Select shiny, plump unwrinkled peppers, avoid any that have soft spots.
Before cooking, cut the pepper in half and remove the core, seeds and white membrane, then slice or chop as desired. Raw peppers make a crunchy sweet addition to salad recipes. They can also be roasted or grilled, both of which intensify, sweeten and soften the flesh. Grill or roast until the skins have blackened, then place in a plastic bag; once the peppers have cooled, the skins will then slip off easily. Slice cooked peppers and marinade in olive oil and seasoning to serve in salads or pasta sauce or turn into a purée. Peppers are also typically used in ratatouille, and whole peppers can be stuffed with minced meat, rice or couscous.
Keep peppers a paper bag in the fridge. Cover roasted peppers in oil and they will keep for a week in the fridge.