IMG_20180915_093135923watermarkI didn’t grow as many bell peppers this year as I have in the past. They don’t sell well for me at farmers market, no matter how I have them priced. A fact that utterly baffles me because I love them and they are super nutritious. We eat them fresh in humus and stuffed this time of year, and freeze extras for later and enjoy them all winter.

Did you know that:

  • Environmental Working Grou's Dirty Dozen list, 2018

    © Environmental Working Group

    According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown sweet bell peppers are on the list of “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residue after harvest. (They take the Federal Government’s own data on pesticide residues collected each year, and then rank them). Sweet bells have been on the list since I become aware of it, which has got to be at least 15 years.

“Almost 90 percent of conventional sweet bell pepper samples contained pesticide residues.

Sweet bell peppers can contain fewer pesticide residues than other Dirty Dozen foods, but the pesticides tend to be more toxic to human health.”

  • A green bell pepper is simply an unripe bell pepper. There is no “green bell pepper” variety. Ripe bell peppers come in a myriad of colors, from yellow to orange to red to purple to almost brown/black. But if its green, it’s simply unripe.
  • A ripe bell pepper tastes WAY better than an unripe bell pepper (no surprise). They are sweeter and much higher in vitamins A and C.
Bell-Pepper-Nutrition-facts

Note that 100 g = 3.5 oz, or about 1/2 cup chopped.

 

Organic bell pepper prices Aug 2015

This was from a local store in August 2015. Note the “Product of Holland”. In AUGUST. Seriously, WTF?!

  • Organically grown bell peppers are SUPER expensive in the store.
  • Ripe bell peppers, when rinsed, cored and chopped, freeze beautifully. That’s what I do with all the peppers I don’t sell. They come home and get chopped and frozen, and then we use them all winter in eggs, soups (hello red pepper soup), stews, chili and on homemade pizza. I also roast them whole on the grill, then peel and core them and freeze, with a piece of plastic wrap between each one. When I have a recipe that calls for a jar of roasted red bell peppers, I just pull however many I need. No running to the store. No left over glass bottle I can’t recycle.
  • In order to grow a bell pepper to its beautiful red ripe color in late August or early September, I start them from seed in a greenhouse the second week in March. They require careful care until they get planted out in mid May, and then they need a bit of shade cloth so they don’t get sunburned during our intense hot summers. Still think $1 per pepper is too much to pay. Grin.
  • Bullnose bell peppersMy favorite bell pepper to grow is called Bullnose. It’s an heirloom variety that goes all the way back to before Thomas Jefferson at Monticello in 1812. Not every one is a perfectly formed blocky square pepper, but they taste fantastic, and I love the history.

So, NOW is the time to stock up on organically grown sweet peppers, whether they be bells or other varieties. You don’t have to buy them from me, but DO buy them from your local farmer, and stock up!

© Miles Away Farm 2018, where we’re miles away from selling out of our sweet bell peppers, but we’ll keep growing them every year, even if it’s just for ourselves!