VegBox Recipes

Peppers / Capsicum

Peppers / Capsicum Sweet peppers (rather than chilli peppers) are sometimes known as "capsicum". They are widely grown in the UK for box schemes, though usually under a polytunnel, as it can be difficult to get them to ripen outdoors, in our climate.

In Season?
UK: August & September - earlier in Mediterranean climates
Buy?
Choose peppers with a firm not wrinkly skin – check especially the point where the stalk meets the fruit, to ensure there is no sign of mould
Store?
Wrapped up in the fridge for up to a week before they begin to shrivel
Freeze?
Cut into thin slices and place in a freezer bag to use for cooking
Cook?
Delicious raw, regularly found alongside carrot and celery sticks on plates of crudités, ready for dipping into hummus, but also great lightly cooked in stir fries, or stuffed and roasted.
Cut off the stalk and cut in half to remove the seeds, before using.

More Peppers / Capsicum Information

Peppers / CapsicumAlthough thought of as a vegetable, they are actually a fruit.

Sweet peppers / capsicum are widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, since they were imported by the Spanish and Portugese explorers.

Peppers start off life green, before changing to yellow and then red - and eventually deep purple.

They originated in South America and their use is recorded as far back as 3000 BC.

Like the aubergine (and the potato), they are a member of the nightshade family, but fortunately, are delicious rather than deadly.

Growing capsicum in the UK is not easy, because of the cool climate, but it can be done using polytunnels.

Because it is thought of as savoury, it is easy to think the sweet pepper is a vegetable, but all those seeds are a dead give away – because in fact it is a fruit.

What To Do With Peppers / Capsicum

Peppers lose their crunch quickly after cutting, so if you’re going to serve them raw, cut them as close to serving as you can.

The easiest way to prepare them is to give them a wash and then slice them in half length ways before removing the stalk and the seeds.

Alternatively, if you’re going to stuff them from the top, then slice off a “hat”, and you should be able to reach in around the white mass of seeds in the middle and pull the whole thing out. Otherwise use a knife to cut the seeds and white flesh away from the “shell”.

Little Known Peppers / Capsicum Facts

  • The fact that I was most fascinated by when I discovered it is that all peppers start life on the plant green, and then, depending on their variety, change colour as they ripen. Some will stay green because they are the truly green variety, whilst others turn vivid shades of yellow and red (sound like any website logos you know?!), or even orange, purple, ivory, brown and black.


  • Peppers of all colours have more Vitamin C in them than oranges – between two and four times as much, in fact. Pepper juice with your toast, anyone?


  • Peppers that are not the truly green variety and that have been left on the plant long enough to change colour are sweeter than if picked whilst green (still don’t fancy that juice, mind you…)


  • Seeds that you have cleared out of the pepper during preparation (see the next section) can be used to grow your own capsicum plant. A warm, south facing windowsill would be best, assuming you don’t have a polytunnel!


Vegetable Tempura
Although it's deep-fried, as long as the oil is hot enough and you drain the tempura after cooking, it's not that bad...! Quick, delicious and a nice change from sticking your veg in a curry!
Ingredients
  • 500g mixed veg, e.g. carrots (in sticks), runner beans (sliced), courgettes (sliced), aubergine (in sticks), onion (in eigths), peppers (sliced), beetroot (in eigths) - use whatever you've got left!
  • 200g plain flour
  • large pinch of salt
  • 300ml ice cold water - ideally sparkling
  • Oil for deep frying

Note: no egg in the batter


Method
  1. xMix the flour and the water together with the salt. Use a whisk to remove any big lumps, but don't worry about smaller lumps.

  2. Heat the oil in a wok or deep fat fryer until it reaches 180 degrees C.

  3. Cut the vegetables into slices or chunks - not too thick or they won't cook, not too think or they'll be mushy!

  4. Dry the vegetables with kitchen paper - the batter sticks better when they're really dry. Dip each slice in the batter and then immediately put in the wok.

  5. Keep going until you have a full wok, one layer deep.

  6. Cook for 2 minutes, then turn the vegetables. Continue to cook until the batter is lightly browned.

  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bananas from the wok and drain on kitchen paper.


Serve with sweet chilli sauce or soy sacue / tamari - incredible!
Cupboard-To-Table

20 mins

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"I think it’s safe to say that there’s more of an emphasis on Mexican that there is on Italian in this dish.

Ideally you should use habanero chilies to make this dish. The fruitiness of habanero chilies works really well in this dish. If you can’t get them then don’t worry as any chilies will do."

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Serve as a light lunch accompanied by some foccacia bread or as a first course.

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Got one? Send us your recipe!

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