A few days ago we read about the abundance of zucchini plants in many of our gardens. Peppers are another vegetable that has been producing non-stop recently. My grandson’s garden is providing all of us with more peppers than we can use! Being a young entrepreneur, he even set up a small stand near their lane to sell peppers and zucchini to neighbors who don’t have a garden of their own!
The varieties of peppers grown locally include bell which can be green, orange, red, or yellow; jalapeno and other hot peppers and the milder sweet banana peppers. All of the members of the pepper family provide great nutritional value in our diets. They’re low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. Compared to green bell peppers, the red ones have almost 11 times more beta-carotene and 1.5 times more vitamin C. A single raw red pepper, sweet or hot, can meet the daily requirements for two important antioxidants, vitamin A and C.
Peppers are a very versatile vegetable. They can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used as additions to sandwiches, salads, stuffing, soup, stews, and relishes. Roasting peppers, however, brings out a totally different taste. This takes some time but the results are well worth it. Char thick-skinned peppers until the skin is black and blistered. They can be charred under a broiler, over an open flame or on the grill. While they are still hot, cover or place in a paper bag for 15 minutes and allow the steam to loosen the charred skins. Peel over a bowl to catch the juices, and use in your favorite recipe.
Peppers can also be preserved safely by freezing, pickling or canning. The National Center for Food Preservation and Ohio State University Extension provided guidance on freezing, pickling and canning peppers and pepper recipes.
If you are harvesting peppers from your garden or purchasing at a local farmer’s market, remember to wash peppers just before using them. Rinse them under cool running water. Peppers can be stored in a plastic bag for use within 5 days. When preparing hot peppers, be sure to wear gloves, keep your hands away from your face and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you are finished. They can burn your skin and eyes!
The Ohioline fact sheet – Salsa from Garden to Table includes several delicious varieties of salsas that can be prepared and canned for use year round. Be sure and follow the directions exactly for a safe product.
Here is a quick and easy recipe for a refreshing summer salsa provided on the USDA What’s Cooking web site. Check out this site for many great, economical, healthy recipes!
Easy Mango Salsa
Prep time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4 Servings
Total Cost: $1.29
Serving Cost: $0.32
The sweetness of fresh mango combined with savory pepper and onion and the zest of lime give this salsa a balance of flavors that are refreshing and crisp. Serve this appetizer with baked tortilla chips or whole grain crackers for a tasty snack.
1 mango (peeled and chopped)
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 green onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced (1-2 Tablespoons)
- Peel and chop the mango, be sure to remove the seed.
- Cut the pepper and onion into small pieces.
- Mix all the ingredients together.
Iowa Department of Public Health. Iowa Nutrition Network.
Written by: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County Rabe.firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by: Amanda Bohlen, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Washington County Bohlen.email@example.com