Capsicums & Chillies
Selection and storage
Select capsicums and chillies that are deeply coloured and free of wrinkles, soft spots or other indications of age or decay. Shape or size is not usually an indicator of quality. All capsicums are green when young, changing to red and orange as they mature. All capisicums are edible, regardless of colour, more mature capsicums are sweeter. Capsicums are also known sweet peppers, bell peppers, chillies, pimiento, peperoni (Italian) and poivrons (French). Paprika is made from ground dried capsicum. The spiciness level of a pepper is expressed in Scoville units, a measure of the capsaicin content in the pepper, which is perceived as â€œheatâ€ by the human palate. The heat range of individual peppers can vary dramatically because it is affected by both the variety and growing conditions. Store in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
Capsicum and chillies are available all year round but are most abundant during the summer months.
Remove seeds from capsicums before use as the seeds can be bitter. Chillies can be used with or without seeds, using the seeds leaving means the chilli is hotter. Capsicums are good with tomatoes, eggplant, onion, garlic, capers, anchovies and olives. Chillies are good with tomatoes, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, coriander, cumin, coconut and lime juice.
Capsicums are an excellent source of vitamins C, A and K, a good source of vitamin B6 and are low in calories. Chilliâ€™s are very high in vitamins C and A. They are also known for clearing sinuses when eaten (especially the very hot ones) and may help to improve circulation. Capsaicin is also known for relieving inflammation caused by arthritis when applied topically in a cream.
Types of Capsicums & Chillies