Sweet bell peppers have a wonderful combination of tangy taste and crunchy texture, with their beautifully shaped glossy exterior that comes in a wide array of vivid colors ranging from green, red, yellow, orange, purple, brown to black. Sweet peppers are plump, bell-shaped vegetables featuring either three or four lobes. Many sweet bell peppers are sold at the green, under-ripe stage, well before they have developed their full rich flavor. Green and purple peppers have a slightly bitter flavor, while the red, orange and yellows are sweeter and almost fruity. All peppers lose their green color when they are fully ripe.
Young, immature peppers are good when used raw because of their thin skin and tender flesh. Fully ripened and mature peppers are best roasted and peeled due to their thick skins and meaty flesh.
Bell peppers have been cultivated for more than 9000 years, with the earliest cultivation having taken place in South and Central America. While the name "pepper" was given to this food by European colonizers of North America who first came across it in the 1500-1600's and then transported it back to Europe, the original name for this food in Spanish was pimiento.
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