Bell peppers versatile raw, cooked

Sweet peppers of all types — the best-known being the mild bell pepper with its crisp, juicy flesh — are still available at local farmers markets.

Like the chili pepper, sweet peppers belong to the capsium family. They come in a multitude of colors from pale to dark green, red, orange, yellow, purple, brown and black.

Select peppers that are firm, have a shiny skin and feel heavy for their size. Avoid wrinkled ones or those with soft areas. Store unwashed bell peppers in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Before using, remove the top, seeds and the white membrane.

Bell peppers can be used raw in salads or with dips. They can be marinated, grilled, baked, sautéed, steamed, added to ratatouille and casseroles, or stuffed with a variety of fillings.

Sweet peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6.

Copper Alvarez several years ago shared the Farmers Market Peperonata recipe for using the bounty of sweet bell peppers available at the local farmers market.