Fire Up Your Palate with Colorful Fresh Peppers

Peppers are nutrient dense and grown in a wide variety of colors, sizes, textures and levels of heat.

According to registered dietitian Kathleen M. Zelman, “all varieties of peppers are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.” The most common pepper, the bell pepper or sweet pepper, has a mild taste and is native to Central and South America.

gazpachoHarvested early, the green bell pepper has the strongest flavor but the least amount of nutritional value. The highest amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin C are found in the vine-ripened red variety. Keep this in mind when shopping for fresh vegetables or creating a salad or salsa. It is best to use red, orange, yellow and green bell peppers for optimum nutritional value and to add beautiful color to your plate.

All peppers are nutrient dense. They are found in almost every tropical climate worldwide and are used in traditional Mexican, African and Thai recipes. Peppers are harvested in various sizes and scales of heat, giving each a different and distinctive flavor. Be careful when working with the hot pepper varieties as they can burn the skin and eyes, causing much discomfort. Use gloves to protect your skin and make sure you don’t touch your eyes.

COLD SUMMER VEGETABLE GAZPACHO

Ingredients:

 1 large yellow bell pepper, diced

 1 large green bell pepper, diced

 1 large cucumber (preferably hothouse), seeded, cored and diced

 5 large fresh sweet tomatoes, diced

 1 medium red onion, diced

 ½ cup chopped green onion

 4 garlic cloves, minced

 1 Tbsp. sea salt

 ¼ cup good white wine vinegar

 ¼ cup first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

 4 cups organic tomato juice

 Optional: 1 tsp. chopped fresh jalapeño or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Add salt, vinegar, olive oil and tomato juice. If you want
to add heat, add jalapeños or cayenne pepper.

2. Stir gazpacho well, cover and chill in a refrigerator overnight.

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