Capsicums (also known as ‘peppers’) are seed pods that have added colour to New Zealanders’ plates for the past 30-40 years. They can be red, green, yellow, orange, white, purple-brown and lime green. April is the last month of the main harvest season so make the most of this colourful vegetable this month.
Choose capsicums with firm and shiny skin, free from soft spots or wrinkling.
Keep in the crisper compartment of the fridge.
Capsicums are rich in vitamin C and provide potassium, folate and other B vitamins. Red capsicums have the most vitamin C. The variation in colour of capsicums is largely due to the presence of different carotenoids. Some of these carotenoids can be converted to vitamin A by our body.
Capsicums are delicious raw but can also be stuffed, stir-fried, stewed, barbecued or roasted. Remove the core — the stem, seeds and inner white membranes — before using.
- Wow dinner guests with capsicums stuffed with spiced lentils: sauté celery and garlic, add cumin, coriander, brown lentils and canned tomatoes and simmer until thick. Trim 1cm off the stem end and stuff the capsicum with the lentil mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.
- Add to salads either raw or roasted (hot or cold).
- Make capsicum and feta hummus by blitzing canned chickpeas, roasted red capsicums, feta cheese, lemon juice, fresh herbs and a little seasoning.
- Go meat-free and thread different coloured capsicums, mushrooms, red onion and tofu or haloumi cheese cubes onto skewers and barbecue.
- Make crudités: cut capsicum in strips and serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks and your favourite dips.
- Add crunch by adding capsicum strips to pita, wrap and sandwich fillings.
Did you know? Green and red capsicums grow on the same plant — a red capsicum is simply a ripe green one.