Vegetable Spotlight: Peppers

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bell peppers

Sweet Bell Peppers with little to no pungent taste.

Hello everyone, this is Marcus McFarland, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension in Union County. This week we’re putting the spotlight on a vegetable with a lot of variety, the almighty Pepper! Peppers, heat-tolerant summer-grown vegetables, vary from color, to size, and to taste. Some are mild and sweet to taste, like Bell Peppers. While some are pungent and spicy like Habanero Peppers. According to the University of Georgia Extension, the pungent or spicy taste comes from the pepper’s seeds, and the spicy of peppers are rated on the Scoville Heat Index.

Habanero Peppers

Habanero Peppers are a spicier cultivar.

Peppers are also packed with a lot of great nutrients. The Home and Garden Information Center at the University of Maryland Extension says, peppers are high in Vitamin A, C, K, and B6. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye-care, Vitamin C boosts the body’s immune system, Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, while Vitamin B6 helps with brain development and nervous system upkeep. The different colors of peppers occur as peppers mature when growing. Below is a delicious recipe from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for Southwestern Style Breakfast Casserole. This recipe features the popular and sweet Red Bell Pepper. With all these great benefits and delicious recipe, make sure to enjoy any of your favorite peppers, this summer!

Southwestern Style Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 6 slices hearty whole-grain bread, cut into cubes
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
  • 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped, or 1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) Mexican/taco flavored cheese or sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups non-fat milk
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) egg substitute*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Layer the bread in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish coated with the non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with the spinach, red peppers, and cheese.
  2. Combine the non-fat milk, egg substitute, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Pour over the bread mixture.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  5. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

*You may use eggs instead of egg substitute, 8 ounces = about 4 whole eggs

References:

“Home Garden Peppers” – Extension Publication, The University of Georgia Extension

“Peppers” – Home and Garden Information Center, The University of Maryland Extension

“Southwestern Style Breakfast Casserole” – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics