Main content


The fruit of a tropical plant (Capsicum annuum) deliberately misnamed pepper (pimiento in Spanish) by Columbus in order to sell its close relation—the chilli (Capsicum frutescens)—as an alternative to the spice pepper that was, at the time, much sought after. Although peppers are a fruit, they are treated more as a vegetable or salad ingredient. Peppers vary in appearance but they are all basically smooth, shiny and hollow, containing thin white membranes and seeds. Most sweet (bell) peppers are green at first, they then turn red, yellow or orange or even purple–black, depending on the variety. Other types include wax peppers, which are yellow or white; cherry peppers, which are small, round peppers; and anaheim and poblano peppers (ancho when dried), which are usually classed as chillies although they are actually sweet peppers. Peppers can be prepared in many ways. Simply cut into slices, chunks or quarters, and eat raw in salads; stuff or fry; skinned peppers can be sliced and added to salads, or drizzle with olive oil for the antipasto table. Eat raw peppers as crudités or use in soups, stews and stir–fries. Peppers feature in ratatouille, peperonata and gazpacho. Buy peppers that are firm, glossy and plump. Those with a thick flesh are juiciest and red peppers are generally sweeter than green ones. Avoid any that have bruises, soft spots or blemishes. Store in a bowl like fruit and they will sweeten as they ripen. Pimiento are ready–prepared red peppers.

Special Note

Peppers go with — garlic, olives, onion, tomato Also known as — bell pepper, capsicum, pimiento, sweet pepper