These days when you walk into our sweet pepper greenhouse, you can smell those delicious peppers and they're not even ready yet! That's what I love the most about sweet pepper plants, without a pepper on them, they still have that wonderful aroma.
There is such a big spectrum of peppers from sweet peppers that are more sweet than heat to "ghost peppers" that are a challenge to handle safely. The colour spectrum of these peppers is also pretty incredible, from green to red to yellow and orange. You can even find them in purple!
Contrary to popular belief, all peppers start out green on the vine. Green peppers are harvested before they fully ripen, which is why you very rarely see these peppers at our market stands. We like to wait until the peppers have hit peak ripeness, when they are the sweetest before picking them.
Let a green pepper ripen and you'll have a red sweet pepper. You can enjoy red peppers roasted, grilled or charred over an open flame of a gas burner which concentrates the sugars and makes them sweet. Once you've charred the pepper, place it in a paper bag for 10 min and then peel. It will keep for weeks covered in olive oil in the refrigerator.
Orange and yellow sweet peppers also start out green but they have been bred to ripen into a rainbow of colours. They taste similar to red peppers and can be substituted for them in most recipes but they are slightly less sweet (depending on who you talk to). They will maintain their bright hues through cooking.
To me, peppers are an iconic taste of summer and I love to preserve that taste all winter long. Sweet peppers freeze really nicely without having to blanch them. Simply cut up your peppers and throw into a freezer bag, when you're ready to use them, throw them in whatever you're cooking frozen. If you let them thaw before using them, they will be mushy.
Sweet peppers provide the body with a good number of B vitamins (including vitamin B2, vitamin B3, foloate, and pantothenic acid), as well as vitamin E, potassium, molybdenum, and fiber. They also contain vitamin K, vitamin B1, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium in good amounts. Overall, your body gets a remarkable wealth of conventional nutrients from this popular vegetable.
There are so many ways to prepare sweet peppers but my favorite is stuffing them.
Turkey Taco Stuffed Peppers
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 Rochon Garden sweet onion diced
2 cloves of Rochon Garden garlic minced
2 cups salsa not chunky, divided
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
3/4 cup water
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese divided
1 cup cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
3 Rochon Garden sweet peppers any color
1 cup cooked rice
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen or fresh Rochon Garden corn kernels
1 cup chicken broth or water
Thinly sliced Rochon Garden green onions or minced Rochon Garden cilantro for garnish
Sour cream for serving
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onions until soft; 3-4 minutes.
Add ground turkey and garlic and cook until meat is no longer pink; about 5 minutes. Drain any liquid and return meat mixture to the pan.
Stir in 1 cup of salsa, taco seasoning and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce is thickened and reduced.
Stir in rice, black beans and corn. Stir in half of the cheeses until melted.
Meanwhile, prepare the sweet peppers. Slice the pepper in half lengthwise, or cut off the tops of the peppers, depending on whether you want them to lay flat or stand up. Remove and discard seeds and membranes; rinse peppers. Arrange in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Stuff peppers with the meat mixture. Top each pepper with a spoonful of salsa and remaining cheese. Carefully pour 1 cup of chicken broth or water around the peppers. Cover with nonstick foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.
Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and peppers are tender.