Bell pepper or sweet pepper is the most popular type of pepper in the Capsicum family, scientifically named: Capsicum annuum.
Unlike other members of the same family, sweet peppers are bell-shaped, with a crunchy characteristic, fleshy and dense texture. Unlike other members of this family, with spicy specifications like chili, they are sweet in flavor and therefore are generally treated as vegetables, not as spices.
Peppers are native to Mexico and other regions of Central America, from where they spread to the rest of the world during the 16th and 17th centuries. They are now widely grown in many parts of the world as an important commercial crop.
How much do bell peppers cost?
Bell peppers prices can range from $2 to as much as $4 per pound, depending on the type, time of year, and geographical location. This means that each one would be approximately around $1 to $2 a piece since it is half a pound in weight. Usually, this cost includes all three colors, green, red, and yellow. When you go to the grocery store or farmers’ market, it is common for them to charge by pepper and not by the pound.
At Walmart, non-organic green peppers sell at 0.98 cents per piece, whereas organic varieties go up to almost $2.75, which is about triple in price. The most expensive ones are sold in packs of three pieces amounting to over $4.5.
A six-count bag of mixed bell peppers can be purchased at most grocery stores for almost $9 to $11. These are the costs usually found at Costco or Sam’s Club locations across the United States.
Bell peppers details
The pepper can be fresh green, red, yellow, orange, or, less often, white, purple, or even multicolored. These shades color the fruit depending on the place of cultivation and the varieties of the species. Green peppers are less sweet and slightly bitter than red, yellow, or orange ones.
The taste of raw peppers can also vary due to the conditions of cultivation and growth, preservation after harvest, and treatment during storage. A bell is sweeter if left longer to ripen in the sun naturally. If the plant’s fruit is colored red, yellow, or orange, but has a bitter taste, it means that it has been picked green and left to mature in storage conditions.
There are nutritional differences between bell peppers, depending on color. For example, according to research statistics red pepper contains more than eight times more vitamin A than green bell pepper.
An essential aspect of these peppers is that they have a high concentration of antioxidants. It is also known that a single pepper provides more than twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin C and three-quarters of the required daily intake of vitamin A.
All bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and E, K, potassium, folic acid, fiber, flavonoids, lutein, and capsaicin. Red pepper contains several phytochemicals and carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, which offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that counteract the damage caused by free radicals.
Capsaicin from bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces “bad” cholesterol, keeps diabetes under control, reduces pain, and relieves inflammation. The sulfur content of bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancer. In addition, they have a very low-calorie content.
Richard Baybutt, an associate professor of nutrition at Kansas State, made a surprising discovery: cigarette smoke induces vitamin A deficiency. Therefore, if you are an active or passive smoker, you should eat bell peppers regularly.
A 2008 study in California found that steamed bell peppers, as well as various other foods rich in antioxidants, improved bile acid-binding capacity. The greater the binding capacity of bile acids, the less they recirculate as the body processes food. Thus, cholesterol is used more efficiently, the body’s absorption of fat is reduced, and it automatically reduces the risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is recommended to steam the bell peppers.
Bell pepper plants thrive in warm and moist conditions. Keep soil between 70 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit and water regularly but not excessively for the best results.
Aldi explains that a good pepper should be firm and bright in color, with no signs of cracking or shriveling. It’s best to avoid any peppers that are pitted, dull-looking, or shrunken.
The simplest method of preservation is freezing. Wash the peppers, remove the stalks and seeds, and cut them into strips or cubes. Put the sliced peppers in small bags, enough to add each one to a dish, and store them in the freezer. Baked bell peppers can also be frozen for salads or winter stews. Baked peppers can also be stored in vinegar, with garlic and dill, in jars stuffed in the refrigerator.
If kept in cool temperatures, bell peppers can last up to two weeks.
Bell peppers are a diverse and hearty vegetable, that enhance your meals with vibrant colors and flavors. To prepare them, simply slice and add them to a variety of dishes. In the U.S., consumers love to fill them with sausage, mushrooms, onions, and chili, creating a crisp and satisfying culinary experience, available online or at local markets.
Bell pepper nutritional facts
For most people, bell peppers are healthy, full of nutrients, and have no side effects. However, pregnant women should not consume large amounts, as the active substances can cause uterine contractions. Those who suffer from certain allergies should also pay attention and discuss with their doctor if bell pepper is on their list.
Related items and their average price
When shoppers buy bell peppers, they often pick up complementary ingredients to enhance their well-rounded meals and side dishes. Understanding the prices of related vegetables and staple produce items purchased with bell peppers can help create effective budgeting and meal planning.
In terms of complementary produce, many shoppers pair bell peppers with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots among other veggies. Comparing the per-pound or per-unit prices of these related products can identify good values.
Here are some related vegetables that are commonly purchased with bell peppers and their current average prices in 2023:
- Onions – $1.07 per pound
- Tomatoes – $2.68 per pound
- Lettuce – $2.24 per head
- Carrots – $1.21 per pound
- Celery – $2.88 per bunch
- Potatoes – $0.83 per pound
- Cabbage – $0.93 per pound
- Cucumbers – $1.11 each
- Broccoli – $2.28 per pound
- Cauliflower – $2.47 per head
- Squash – $1.63 per pound
- Eggplant – $2.89 per pound
- Green beans – $3.29 per pound
The average price of green bell peppers is around $2.99 per pound. So many complementary vegetables and staple produce items are available for a similar or lower price per pound or unit compared to bell peppers. However, specialty and delicate vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant tend to sell at a premium versus bell peppers.
How can I save money?
Peppers are the cheapest in summer and early fall, the beginning of September, so buy them in season to save money.