In the U.S. the term sweet pepper covers a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the chile, belong to the capsicum family. The best known sweet peppers are bell peppers, named for their bell-like shape. They have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp juicy flesh. When young most bell peppers are a rich, bright green, but there are also yellow, orange, purple, red and brown bell peppers. Red bell peppers are green bell peppers that have ripened longer and are very sweet. The red heart-shaped pimiento is another popular sweet pepper. Pimientos are the familiar red stuffing found in green olives. Other sweet pepper varieties include cachucha, European sweet, bull horn (thin, curved and green); Cubanelle (long, tapered, yellow to red); and sweet banana pepper (long, yellow, banana-shaped).
Plural: Sweet peppers
Season: available year-round
How to select: Their skin should be firm without any wrinkles, and the stem should be fresh and green. They should feel heavy for their size. Avoid peppers with sunken areas, slashes or black spots.
How to store: Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will stay fresh for about a week. Green bell peppers will stay fresh a little longer than the yellow and red ones.
How to prepare: bake, broil, grill, roast, stew
Matches well with: anchovies, basil, chiles, coriander, corn, garlic, lemon, meat, olive oil, onions, rice, tomatoes, vinegar
Substitutions: 1 tbsp dried sweet red pepper flakes = 3 tbsp chopped bell peppers; 2 tbsp chopped pimento = 3 tbsp chopped red bell pepper