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Why Are Bell Peppers Different Colors?

Yellow, red, and green bell peppers sit behind chopped pieces.
Kritsada Namborisut/Shutterstock.com

Toss some chopped bell pepper into an omelet, add them to stir fry, or eat them as a snack with hummus. Bell peppers are a versatile veggie, but there’s one thing you might wonder about this handy bit of produce.

Why are bell peppers different colors? The reason is simple, but it makes a big difference.

Red and yellow bell peppers are just green peppers that are more ripe. Red peppers are the most ripe and require more growth time. Yellow is in the middle, and green is the least ripe. While this seems simple, it affects both flavor, cost, and nutrition.

Hutzler Pepper Saver

Keep leftover peppers safe in the fridge.

Because they grow longer, red bell peppers develop a sweet, almost fruit-like flavor, and they’re often more expensive than the others. Green peppers have a more bitter, true veggie flavor and is the cheapest bell pepper option. Yellow, well, it’s right in the middle giving a more subtle, lightly sweet, somewhat grass-like taste.

The longer growth time doesn’t just affect cost and flavor, though. It also makes red and yellow bell pepper a bit more nutritious. They have roughly twice the amount of vitamin C and nine tims more beta carotene than green. That doesn’t mean green bell peppers aren’t healthy, though. They’re still a great veggie option.

The next time you’re whipping up some at-home hummus, go ahead and grab all three peppers for a fun taste test.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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