Red bell peppers are medium to large in size, averaging 5-8 centimeters in diameter and 5-12 centimeters in length, and are rounded, square, and block like in shape with 3-4 lobes and a thick green stem. The smooth skin is firm, glossy, and bright red, and underneath the skin, the pale red flesh is thick, juicy, crisp, and succulent. There is also a central, hollow cavity that contains very small, flat and bitter cream-colored seeds and a thin, spongy white to pale red membrane. Red bell peppers have an aqueous crunch and are sweet with a fruity flavor.
Red bell peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer.
Red bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, and also contain vitamins E, K, and B6, potassium, manganese, fiber, folate, and thiamin. They also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has been known to help protect the body and fight free radicals.
Red bell peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, grilling, sautéing, baking, and stir-frying. The sweet pepper can be chopped and tossed into green salads, mixed with orange and yellow peppers for a crunchy side dish, or sliced and layered on vegetable platters with dips such as hummus, yogurt, or dressings. They can also be cooked and blended into marinara sauces, stews, chilis, or soups, sliced and layered with squash and tomato and baked into a gratin, used as a pizza topping, grilled and placed in sandwiches, rolled into fajitas or tacos, or baked into a casserole. In addition to fresh and cooked preparations, Red bell peppers can be canned or pickled for use as a condiment. Red bell peppers pair well with basil, coriander, parsley, rosemary, arugula, garlic, onions, pesto, tahini, salsa, guacamole, cheeses such as goat, parmesan, and mozzarella, zucchini, snap peas, corn, tomatoes, anchovies, pork, poultry, steak, vinegar, olive oil, olives, black beans, chickpeas, pine nuts, and rice. The peppers will keep up to one week when stored unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.