How to Grow and Use Bell Peppers in Home Canning Recipes
There are so many uses for bell peppers in canning. It starts with knowing what to grow, or purchase, that helps make your recipe delicious!
Did you know there is a female and a male bell pepper? Bet you didn’t think it even mattered while shopping in the grocery store which one you choose, or pick from your garden… You can tell the gender of the bell pepper by looking at its bottom. Male peppers have three bumps, and female peppers have four. Female peppers also have more seeds in them which may make them a tad more difficult to prep, but they are also sweeter, so they are going to be better as part of your veggie tray to be eaten raw. In addition to being sweet, they make a great veggie tray addition due to the variety of colors they are grown in. While your ‘go-to’ may be green, there are also red, orange, yellow, white, and purple. You could almost create an entire rainbow platter just out of bell peppers!
It’s also kind of fun to know where the different colors are coming from. Each color pepper is slightly different in the amount of certain antioxidants it contains. For example, red bell peppers have more capsanthin than others, giving it that bright red color, and it’s actually the same thing that is extracted from the fruits of the Capsicum genus that are eventually used to color other food items red! For yellow peppers, it’s violaxanthin that is responsible for its sunny disposition, and is the same natural chemical that gives pansies their beautiful color.
Bell peppers a bit finicky though, and if you’re looking to grow them yourself any time soon, you have to be careful where you choose to grow them. Based on what you planted in your garden last year, you might have to choose a different location for your bell peppers. You’ll also need to ensure they’ll be in full sun. They want all the nutrients, all the time! They will certainly grow though even develop more flavor after you snip them from the stem. Want more insight? Tammy Wylie will walk you through this and much more in her latest book, Raised Bed Gardening.
I purposely grow bell peppers so I can use them in a variety of salsas, my Basil Diced Tomatoes canning recipe as well as my home canned Chili recipe. There are so many uses for bell peppers in canning, however I often tell people, if you do not want the pepper to over-power the recipes’ flavor, be sure to use yellow or orange bell peppers. Green peppers in canning, although delicious, can over power the recipe and get stronger in flavor the longer it sits on your pantry shelf.
To Whom the Stuffed Bell Pepper Tolls?
One of my favorite lines from The Golden Girls sitcom. Those of you who know me know the Golden Girls are a staple in my kitchen! I swear they play almost 24-7! One of my family’s favorite meals using my home canned goods is a combination of my Black Bean & Corn Salsa and fresh bell peppers. I create the stuffing using rice, burger or Italian sausage, salsa and cheese. This delicious recipe and more can be found in my cookbook, Canning Full Circle. How do you like to stuff your bell peppers? Be sure to let us know!
Have a blessed fall canning season!
Diane, The Canning Diva®