Saturday 6 October 2012

Delightful Sweet Peppers from the Garden!

Green and Red Capsicum / Bell Pepper growing in container

The month of September is a time when chillis and peppers are all in abundance in the garden.  From growing bell peppers (also called sweet peppers, capsicum), I recently discovered something that I rather embarassingly, did not know.  In the past, whenever I have bought a tri-coloured pack of peppers from the supermarket, I always assumed they were different varieties of pepper. But, in fact, the green and red peppers are really all from the same plant - they have simply been picked at different stages.  So, the green ones are actually "unripe", and the red ones are the ripe versions of the green ones.

Bell Peppers (Capsicums) grown from a Container
This pepper plant in a pot was being sold off at our local garden centre at a 75% discount. I just couldn't resist buying it as it came complete with all the glossy, green fruit already hanging on it. 

One small plant in a container can produce up to 6 or 7 peppers, and this makes them one of the more cost effective vegetables to grow. 

The capsicum plant seen here is a "Patio Red Skin" variety.

Harvesting Bell Peppers (Capsicums)
As the days went by, the peppers began to transform from green to a mixed green and red, and then into a vibrant red.  And by mid-September (our summer), most of them had fully ripened and were ready to be picked.

When you harvest these, is of course a personal choice as peppers can also be harvested at the green stage when they will be crunchy but somewhat bitter.

Cooking Sweet Peppers (Capsicum)

Yong Tau Foo
Stuffed Bell Peppers/ Capsicum

There is a wonderful Chinese way of cooking chillis or peppers in a dish called "Yong Tau Foo," where the vegetables are essentially filled with fish paste.  My mother's variation calls for a blend of fish and minced pork with some added condiments and cornflour, and then fried in batches in hot oil, until the peppers turn sweet.
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