Capsicums are also known in New Zealand as peppers or sweet peppers.
Native to tropical America, capsicums then spread to Europe and have only been available in New Zealand for the past 30-40 years.
Capsicums are seed pods. They can be red, green, yellow, orange, white, purple-brown and lime green. Green and red come from the same plant, however yellow, orange, white and purple are different varieties. Red, orange, yellow and green capsicums are readily available. White, purple-brown and lime green capsicums have a more limited supply. Capsicums are sweet and juicy with a mild spicy flavour. Red capsicums, being riper, are sweeter than green capsicums. Shape also varies with each variety, from the more commonly found blocky shape to a pointy capsicum. Miniature varieties are sometimes available.
What to look for
Capsicums should be well shaped and have skins which are firm and shiny. Avoid those with soft spots or a shrivelled appearance.
Refrigerate in the vegetable crisper. At cooler times of the year capsicums can be kept in the fruit bowl.
How to prepare
Remove the seeds and inner membranes. To stuff a capsicum, cut the stem off and remove the seeds from the top, otherwise it's easier to cut the capsicum in half first. To remove capsicum skins, roast, grill or barbecue until the skin blisters and blackens. Slip the burnt skins off. To make this easier place capsicums in a plastic bag or covered dish for a few minutes and then peel skin off.
Ways to eat
Capsicums can be eaten raw or cooked. Use raw in salads, cut into strips and eat with dips, or use as an edible garnish. Dice capsicums for use on pizzas; cut into chunks for kebabs; use in pasta sauces; or add to stir fries. Stuff with rice or a bread crumb mixture and bake. Add roasted capsicums, either hot or cold, to salads and sandwiches.
Bake, grill, roast, stir fry, stuff.
|CAPSICUM - RED|
|Serving size: 1 capsicum - 74g|
|Fat, total (g)||0.1||0.2%||0.2|
|- saturated (g)||trace||0%||trace|
|- sugars (g)||3.7||4%||4.9|
|Dietary fibre (g)||1.1||4%||1.5|
|Vitamin C (mg)||103.6||259% RDI*||140||A good source of vitamin C|
|Folate (µg)||63||32% RDI*||85||A good source of folate|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.41||26% RDI*||0.56||A good source of vitamin B6|
|Vitamin A Equiv. (µg)||118||16% RDI*||160||A source of vitamin A Equiv.|
|Niacin (mg)||0.74||7% RDI*||1|
Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014
All capsicums are a good source of vitamin C and a source of vitamin B6 and folate. Red capsicums contain higher levels of both nutrients compared to the other colours and both red and orange capsicums are a source of vitamin A. A range of carotenoids are responsible for the different colours.
Always handle with care, as damaged capsicums decay rapidly. Temperature control is very important with capsicums. If stored below 7ºC, chilling injury or pitting will result. Temperatures above 10ºC will encourage ripening or development of red colouring in green capsicums and speed up decay. Display different coloured capsicums together to make an attractive display. Use QR code on labels.
Store at 7-10ºC with a 90-98% relative humidity. Lower temperatures will cause chilling injury.
Purchase capsicums with the New Zealand GAP logo.
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