In most of the US, peppers are a summer staple. Here in Texas, they seem to be a year round bounty. I’ve had multicolored shishito peppers in each of my CSA bushels for the past few months, almost without fail. So even though it’s December, let’s talk about peppers. And then make some smoky, cozy chili.
Most peppers are generically classified as either sweet or hot. Sweet peppers are mild, and can be slightly sweet, though the name is to mostly differentiate them from their spicy counterpart. Bell peppers, banana peppers, and pimentos are all considered sweet. Hot peppers include chilis, jalapenos, serrano peppers, habeneros, and thai peppers. Poblanos, Anaheim peppers, and shishito peppers are all somewhere in the middle, with mild heat characteristics.
Sweet peppers provide about 20 calories per 100 grams, with most of that energy being water and carbohydrates. Hot peppers have roughly 40 calories per 100 grams, with a higher carbohydrate to water ratio, due to a higher sugar content. Both varieties are high in vitamins and minerals, with greater than 5% DV of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese. Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C at over 130% DV for sweet peppers and a whopping 400% DV for hot peppers, per 100 grams. Hot peppers are also a significant source of iron, copper, folate, and magnesium.
Peppers contain capsaicin which aids in increasing metabolism by raising body temperature and expending energy. Hot peppers contain much more capsaicin than sweet peppers, so add some heat to your meals to get things going.
The incredibly high levels of vitamin C in peppers provide significant antioxidant power to the body. Vitamin C is also a key factor in collagen production, which gives structure to skin, bones, and blood vessels. Red bell peppers as well as hot peppers have the most concentrated amounts of vitamin C, so stock up on this ruby color.
Add some sweet and heat to your menu this week with these fun pepper recipes:
- Roasted Shishito Peppers // Food & Nutrition
- Roasted Red Pepper Pasta // Minimalist Baker
- Creole Black Eyed Peas // Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
- Roasted Poblano Corn Soup // Making Thyme for Health
- Funky Green Tacos // Earthy Feast