The familiar block-shaped peppers include: green-to-red - Merlin, Lady Bell, Northstar, Superset, King Arthur and Bell Captain, Ranger, Mayata, Bell Star and Bell King; yellow - Klondike and Marengo.

Some elongated banana types are also grown here. Examples are the yellow Sweet Elongate and Sweet Hungarian, and the hot Inferno, Hungarian Wax,Crimson Hot, Diablo Grande and Surefire.


One raw medium sweet pepper contains 19 calories and provides an excellent source of Vitamin C and a source of folacin.


Peppers, both sweet and hot, were first cultivated in Central and South America some 2,000 years ago.

Columbus introduced them to Europe after his first voyage to the New World (1493). Portuguese traders eventually brought them to India and south-east Asia.

Today the sweet pepper is a mainstay of many European and Middle Eastern cuisines

Buying and storing

Look for those that are smooth, firm and plump with thick shiny skins free of cracks or soft spots.

Although red peppers start out as green while on the plant, they don't change colour after picking. So if you want them red, buy them red.

They'll keep for about one week in a refrigerator crisper. (Storage in too cold or too warm conditions will damage them).

Preparing and cooking

Rinse in cold water, core, seed and cut up.

A versatile vegetable, they can be stir-fried, baked, grilled, stewed or eaten raw.

You can stuff them with rice and herbs or chopped mixed vegetables and bake. Or simmer them with tomatoes, onions and eggplant to make vegetable stews.

Finely chopped, they make a tasty pizza garnish or omelette filling. Grill them, skinned and marinated in olive oil, for a delicious first course.