Capsicums - a powerhouse of health!

Capsicums - a powerhouse of health!
HEALTH FILES: CAPSICUMS: PEP UP YOUR WELLBEING

Crisp, colourful capsicums will not only tantalise your tastebuds and spice up your diet, they contain a 'powerhouse' of health benefits that will pep up your overall wellbeing.

Capsicums, or bell peppers as they are sometimes known, are high in vitamin C, rich in beta carotene, packed with folate and have double the vitamin A and C content of citrus fruit. In fact, one red capsicum has enough vitamin C to meet the daily needs of ten people!

Cholesterol, sodium and fat free, capsicums are a cardiovascular stimulant and assist in lowering blood pressure and breaking down the body's cholesterol build up. Further, their warming properties are beneficial for people suffering from poor circulation to the hands and feet and other related conditions.

Capsicums are packed with cancer reducing phytochemicals, help kill harmful bacteria inside the body and act as a digestive aid. They stimulate protective mucous membranes in the stomach to ease intestinal inflammation and relieve pain caused by ulcers. They can also buffer pain from other ailments including arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and varicose veins, as well as respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Delicious raw or cooked, the capsicum is one of Australia's most versatile and 'healthful' foods, anyway you slice it. A new variety - PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums - has just arrived fresh from the vines in Bowen, Bundaberg and Childers. Available in four vibrant colours orange, red, yellow and green each has its own distinct flavour.

These three amigos and the 'green-go' of taste, have been developed through natural selection to taste sweeter and have a longer shelf life from farm to table than their traditional Capsicum 'brothers'. Colourful and consistent in size and shape, PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums are ideal for stuffing and baking due to the structure of their thicker flesh.

Capsicums lend themselves to a variety of cuisines including Chinese, Italian, Moroccan, Spanish, Thai and the hottest fare of the moment Tex-Mex.

Looking to spice up your culinary repertoire? For entrees with bite serve Corn & PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums Fritters With Avocado Salsa and Corn Tortillas With Avocado, Cheese & PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums Jam.
Continue the Tex-Mex theme with Spicy Bean & PepeŽ Sweet CapsicumsStew with Char-grilled Chilli Corn Bread paired with PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums & Pineapple Salad.

And for the young (and young at heart!), Mini PepeŽ Pizzas are a fun, colourful snack that will disappear before you can say "Hasta La Vista, Baby"!

Make your Tex-Mex dining experience truly authentic and experiment with quirky vibrant placemats partnered with mis-matched plates in a kaleidoscope of colours. A sombrero or two, sassy or soothing salsa sounds, and a pitcher of sangria or mouth-watering margarita will create just the right ambience.
After such a 'ful-filling' dining experience you may find your guests seeking out a secluded spot for a siesta!

Just-picked PepeŽ Sweet Capsicumsare available year-round from major retailers, independent greengrocers and providores throughout Australia, so why not experience their crisp sweet taste today. Ole!

PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums fact File

Selection & Storage
Look for well shaped capsicums with firm, shiny skins and good colour. Avoid capsicums with soft spots or a wrinkled appearance.
Refrigerate in a vegetable crisper or plastic bag and use within five days.

Preparation
Rinse your PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums under water.
Raw - Remove the cap, stem and white membranes and scoop out the seeds. Slice or dice.
Roasted - Remove the cap and stem and white membranes, quarter and scoop out the seeds. Bake, barbeque or grill your PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums skin side up until blackened and blistered. Place in a paper bag and allow the capsicum to 'sweat' until cool. Remove the skin.
Stuffed - To stuff your PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums, cut the stem and cap off and remove the seeds from the top. Fill with your choice of couscous, rice, savoury mince, ratatouille or other fresh vegetables
Stir-fry - Remove the cap, stem and white membranes and scoop out the seeds. Cut your PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums into strips. Stir-fry pieces in a dash of olive or vegetable oil over a medium to high heat until cooked to your liking.

Munch & Enjoy!
Try PepeŽ Sweet Capsicums in antipasto, dips, omelettes, salsas, soups, spicy stir fries and rice dishes. Stuff them, roast them, sprinkle them on a salad or to add a splash of colour to a dish. Skewer them onto a kebab for a tasty barbeque treat.

Capsicums pair perfectly with eggplant, garlic, onion, squash and tomatoes. Other flavoursome partners include capers; bocconcini, mozzarella and parmesan; olives, olive oil and vinegar.

Did You Know?
Capsicums were discovered by Christopher Columbus in the West Indies in 1492.
Capsicums belong to the Solanacea family which includes potatoes, petunias, tobacco and tomatoes.
Paprika and cayenne pepper are different varieties of capsicums. Capsicums often suffer from a mistaken identity. They are really fruits but are prepared like vegetables. Capsicums are also known under the pseudonyms bell pepper, sweet pepper, chilli, chile and paprika, to name a few.
If green capsicums are left on the vine they will mature and turn red. Other capsicum varieties include orange, yellow, brown, purple and white.
The more ripe the capsicum, the milder and sweeter the taste.



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