Probably the most common peppers, bell peppers begin green then turn into a rainbow of colors as they ripen.

Bell peppers ripen green, then turn into other colors if they stay on the vine. The red ones are the ripest and most nutritious. / Florida Food & Farm file photo

November is National “Capsicum annum” month or, as most of us call it, National Pepper Month. So to celebrate these colorful, nutritious and delicious (even when raw) comestibles, below are five fun facts about bell peppers.

Five fun facts about bell peppers

1) Though most people consider them vegetables, peppers are fruits because they grow on a flowering plant and contain seeds.

2) Red bell peppers are sweeter than green ones because bell peppers sweeten as they ripen. The red bells are actually green bell peppers that have been left on the vine to continue to ripen. The red ones also have more than twice the vitamin C of green bells (jeffsnaturals.com).

FFF file photo

3) Credit Christopher Columbus with vastly increasing the popularity of peppers. “Peppers were cultivated for centuries in South and Central America before their ‘discovery’ by European explorers.” After Columbus took peppers back to Europe in the late 1400s, they eventually became very popular (gilbertosalazarescoboza.com).

4) When is a pepper not pepper? Always. “The spice known as pepper is the dried fruit of a completely different plant, the Piper nigrum vine, which is native to Asia” (gilbertosalazarescoboza.com).

5) Use bell peppers to add color to your cooking. They come in red, green, yellow, orange, white and purple varieties. The reds are the most nutritious.

Nutrition (for a raw red pepper, sliced)
(Source: whfoods.com); serving size: 1 cup (92 grams)
Calories: 29
Protein: .91 g
Carbohydrates: 5.55 g
Total fat: .28 g
Sugars: 3.7 g
Vitamin C: 117.5 milligrams
Fiber: 1.85 g
Potassium: 194.1 mg

Recipes
For dishes you can make with bell peppers, visit happyhealthymama.com.