This week's Sunday Spotlight food is.... Red Bell Peppers!
I love red bell peppers. I like them raw on a sandwich, in salad, or with hummus. I like them stuffed with quinoa and tofu and spices. I like to roast peppers and then turn them into pasta sauces. I. Love. Them. I got lucky this week because Safeway has them on sale which is why I was inspired to write the first Sunday Spotlight feature about them.
One medium sized red bell pepper has approximately 135% of you Daily Value for Vitamin A and 375% of your Daily Value for Vitamin C. That is over twice as much Vitamin C as an orange! They have vitamin B6, fiber, as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene which help fight free radicals. (In the future I'll do a discussion on free radicals.) All of these vitamins and antioxidants have been related to lessen the possibility of developing prostate, cervical, and bladder cancer, and lessen the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Storage & Cleaning
Red bell peppers will last in the fridge for about a week. If you buy too many of them (like me) you can freeze them whole in the freezer to pull out when you get a craving. Also, wash them really, really well before throwing in a recipe to remove any pesticide residues.
How To Use
There's no mystery here. You can eat them raw, steamed, sauteed, etc. They add a great crunch to salads and sandwiches. Their sweetness is a great contrast in spicy dishes such as red beans and rice or chili. They go great with dips on a vegetable tray. If you say you don't like them--prepare them different ways to see if that helps. My husband doesn't like them raw, but if they're sauteed or roasted he'll gobble them up.
One small caveat: I have said previously that food can heal us. I do honestly believe that, but I don't think that me eating a red bell pepper a day will keep me from getting some sort of disease or condition. I say that food can heal us because I want people to get their calories from real food. Ingredients you cannot pronounce will not bring you to optimal health--eating real food will. So eat real food and be healthy!