Pepper

Add taste and color to your plate

Peppers are a key ingredient to Greek cuisine since depending on the variety, they are consumed neatly as appetizers, they are powdered and used as a spice or they are used in cooking such as in the Greek salad, gemista and other cooked dishes, as an additive  in sauces, sautéing, etc.

peperPeppers are grown in more than 50 varieties worldwide, producing sometimes sweet and sometimes spicy fruits, thus peppers are divided into two major categories: sweet (bell pepper) and hot peppers (chili pepper).

Some of the most commonly met varieties are Bell peppers, the famous sweet, coarse pepper that is usually found in markets, Paprika peppers which produce paprika powder when drained, the Pimiento peppers, red and fleshy, they are often used for stuffing olives and Cayenne peppers, which are very hot with a thin, conic shape.

Our local “celebrity” peppers come from Florina in Northern Greece and they are red with sweet or spicy fruits. They are a delicious meze for tsipouro and can be served grilled or pickled or filled with cheese, while when drained they produced a hot local spice of the Balkans called bukovo.

Peppers are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. Compared to green peppers, red peppers have more vitamins and nutrients and contain the antioxidant lycopene in a level nine times higher.

peper2Pepper originates from Mexico, Central America and northern South America. Its “godfather” is considered to be Christopher Columbus, who named it “pimiento”, meaning pepper when he introduced the plant in Europe. It seems like he had encountered a hot variety of pepper! At that time all the plants producing hot fruits were attributed to pepper, a very expensive spice, so categorizing the new plant as a kind of pepper it gave it an even greater commercial value.

In Greece you can find peppers all around the country in vegetable gardens and greenhouses, but their cultivation is particularly widespread in Northern Greece. The main varieties produced here apart for Florina peppers, are the green peppers of New Magnesia featuring sweet and fleshy fruits, the Tsouska peppers with light spiciness and pale green color, and the yellow Koufalion peppers, a small kind of fruit grown in the areas of Thessaloniki in order to be pickled.

 MLGFB Tip:

How to make stuffed with feta cheese Florina peppers

peper3Ingredients: 4-5 big Florina peppers, 300g. feta cheese, olive oil, oregano

Preparation:

  • Wash the peppers and put them in a baking pan.
  • Pour some water and oil and put them in the oven at 200 degrees until softened (puncture them with a fork to check)
  • In a bowl put the cheese, the olive oil and the oregano, mix and stir altogether until they become a tight cream
  • Once peppers are cooked let them cool and then peel them, cut the stems and fill them with the creamed cheese.
  • Put them back in the oven for about 15 minutes

 

Don’t throw away the remaining oil and water from the first bake. Bake the stuffed peppers in the same pan and what remains, pour it on top of the peppers right before you serve them

 Photo credits: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, Header Photo

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