Although peppers are related to chillies, they
are not hot - even the seeds. Red peppers are ripened green
peppers and taste the sweetest. Yellow peppers are a different
variety and are also delicious. Try roasted peppers. Cut into
quarters, brush with olive oil, torn basil and seasoning and bake
in a very hot oven for 30 minutes. Grilled peppers are another
superb dish. Once grilled they can be skinned to reveal a soft,
luxurious texture and added to salads.
To skin peppers, cut into quarters lengthways
and grill, skin side up, until the skin is charred and evenly
blistered. Place the pieces immediately into a plastic bag with
tongs or a fork (so you don't burn yourself!) and close the top
of the bag with a tie or a loose knot. Leave for a few minutes
and then remove from the bag and the skin will peel off easily.
(Thanks to The Vegetable Encyclopedia & Cookbook by
Christine Ingram for that information.)
Peppers can be chopped and used raw in salads
or cooked. The squat, dumpy 'bell' varieties are ideal for
stuffing. Slice the tops off and remove the inner core and pith,
and shake out the seeds. Fill with cooked rice or cous-cous mixed
with ingredients such as chopped celery, onions, garlic,
mushrooms, etc., which have been lightly sautéed and then
simmered for about 10 minutes with chopped tomatoes. Bake at 180C
(350F), Mark 4 for 35 to 40 minutes.
Anna Ross in her book Green Cuisine
has a recipe for Red Pepper Soup! They are also an essential
ingredient of ratatouille, stir fries and cold gazpacho soup. Or
they can simply be fried with onions and garlic in olive oil.
The main varieties we grow are:
Green, "bell", variety which ripens to red and
can be used at either stage. Green peppers have a fresh "raw"
flavour, whilst the red ones are distinctly sweeter.
Sirtaki or Fiesta
Yellow, "bell", varieties. Fiesta is a new
variety we are trialling this year and is grown from organic
seed. They have a similar taste to red peppers.
Long Red Marconi & Long Yellow Ringo
Sweet peppers with long cone shaped fruits up
to 8 inches long, with a mild sweet flavour. They certainly look
spectacular! Taste good either raw or cooked.
This year, for the first time, we are acting
as "seed guardians" for two varieties of pepper to help preserve
some of these "Heritage" seeds, which might otherwise be lost, as
they are no longer available from normal seed companies. Nardello
is a wrinkly thin red sweet pepper. It looks more like a long
chili, but isn't hot.
Another Heritage Seed variety. It has a stubby
fat, pointed appearance.
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