Fresh Eats Blog: Bell Peppers

 In Market News

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: bell peppers.

Did you know red peppers are simply green ones left on the vine longer? (Courtesy of KT Ng)

Did You Know?

Did you know peppers were named by Spanish explorers searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper? Also, they are considered fruits because they are produced from a flowering plant and contain seeds.

Peppers are in season in South West British Columbia from July through to October! Bell peppers are the most cultivated in the pepper family and are good in salads, pizzas, soups, sandwiches, or eaten fresh as a snack.

Recipe of the Week

Bell Pepper Egg-in-a-Hole

Courtesy Martha Stewart 

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 bell pepper (any color), cut into four 1/2-inch-thick rings

4 large eggs

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan

4 slices multigrain (or other) bread, toasted

8 cups mixed salad greens

Directions:

Step 1- Heat one teaspoon of oil over medium-high in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper, then crack one egg into the middle of each pepper ring.

Step 2- Season with salt and pepper and cook until egg whites are mostly set but yolks are still runny, this is about two to three minutes. Gently flip and cook one minute more for over easy.

Step 3- Sprinkle with Parmesan and place each egg on a slice of toast.

Step 4- Toss salad greens with one teaspoon of oil and season with salt and pepper; serve alongside eggs.

Ingredients at the Market

Bell Peppers: Floralia Growers, Never Say Die

Cheese: Golden Ears Cheesecrafters

Eggs: Alder Creek Heritage Homestead, Forstbauer Family Natural Food Farm, Rockweld Farm

Bread: A Bread Affair, Delish Gluten Free, Gesundheit Bakery

Greens:  Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Snowy Mountain Organics, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To

Bell Pepper Planting 101:

Step 1- As an option, plant three seeds in one pot, and thin out the weakest seedling. Let the remaining two pepper plants live as one plant. About a week before moving your plant into a bigger pot, introduce compost or other organic nutrients into the soil.

Step 2- Once the seedlings are large enough to transplant, place them 18-24 inches apart. Place the pot outdoors in a warm environment. You can warm up the soil by covering it with black plastic.

Step 3- Water the plants two to three times per week or if conditions are particularly dry, more frequent watering may be necessary. To help retain moisture you can add mulch to the surrounding area.

Step 4- Weed carefully around the plant and harvest as soon as the peppers reach desired size.

Note: Keep your plant as warm as possible for the best germination conditions. Also, the longer you keep the peppers on the vine, the greater vitamin C content.

Bell Peppers in B.C.

Bell peppers are considered a greenhouse vegetable by the B.C. government. The industry now relies on state-of-the-art facilities and production practices to produce high-quality fresh vegetables!

These advances in technology have extended the growing season and therefore has allowed consumers the option of buying locally during times when certain produce were not historically available.

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