The beautiful hue of red, yellow and green capsicum is enough to attract the food lovers. These are also called peppers or bell peppers. These have been used as a spice since ancestral times.
Capsicum needs soft and loamy soil for their cultivation. In the previous data, India has been ranked the first position for production of dry pepper. There are various types of capsicum available. These can range in various sizes, structures, and colors.
Types of Capsicum
The most common type of capsicums known are:
These fruits are pointed and have thin walls. They are often in the shape of a heart and have a pungent flavor to them.
2) Bell Pepper
These peppers are typically non-pungent in taste. Their fruit has 3 or even four lobes which make them look like a block.
These are very similar in shape to the cherry but have thinner walls when compared to it. The fruits are intensely dry, and hence seeds can be heard rattling in the fruit and that how they got their name.
These fruits are really wrinkled and highly pungent in their flavor. The pods of this plant are irregular or crescent in shape. The red pepper commonly used is the grounded version of dried cayenne.
These are also called the chile Piquins and naturally grow in the wild. They are the mother of all chiles. The green fruit is usually pickled while the red one is again dried and used as a seasoning.
These plants have round and mildly flattened fruits. They may or may not be pungent and hot in taste.
Jalapenos are named after a town called Jalpa in Mexico. They are pungent in their taste and are often used as a spice.
8) New Mexico Chile
This type is also called the Anaheim. These peppers are generally roasted and peeled fresh for immediate consumption. Sometimes these are also frozen or canned.
These are the peppers which are only planted for decoration. They are usually covered with bright red fruits around the holiday season. These are also edible but are generally grown due to their beautiful foliage.
10) Hot Chiles
These thin tapering fruits with really high pungency. These are usually red and are around 50 – 120 mm in length.
This plant also has non-pungent fruits in the shape of a heart. These fruits are generally thick walled and conical in shape.
These fruits range from shades of green to red, brown, orange or yellow as they mature. These peppers are generally 5-10 cm long with no corkiness at all.
This plants fruits have a waxy appearance and are yellow. These are usually pickled or often consumed fresh in salads.
It is almost like a category of peppers. It is a native of Hungary and has a pungent flavor.
15) Green Capsicums
The capsicums which are harvested before they are completely ready to be harvested. Many around the globe enjoy Their crunchy texture and mildly bitter flavor.
16) Yellow Capsicums
If the green capsicums are still left on the plant, they will next turn to yellow. At this stage too, this vegetable is a little crunchy but has a slightly fruity flavor to it. Its bright yellow color is quite appealing to the eye.
17) Orange Capsicums
These capsicums are as sweet as the red capsicums and are almost ready to be harvested from the capsicum plant. These can be consumed raw and even be roasted to add color to various delicacies that we all enjoy all through the year.
18) Red Capsicums
Red Capsicums are the fully ripe capsicums. They are rich in nutrients and carotenes which prevent you from all major illnesses. Their amazingly sweet flavor make them perfect for raw consumption.
This plant is only found in southern Mexico. Their fruits usually have thin walls and can look like baby bell peppers to the big broad shouldered and tapered ones. These can mature to be red or even black.
20) Cuban Pepperoncini
The fruits of this variety are large and have irregular thin walls. They further come in two types the green and the red pepperoncini.
These peppers are generally grown for commercial purpose in Guerrero, Mexico. The pods of this plant are long, and their shape is conical. They are also often wrinkled with an astringent taste.
These peppers have fruits which are translucent and thin walled. They are majorly used after drying.
23) Chile De Arbol
These have tapered end with a length of fruit around 5-8 cm long.
This is a native of Japan. The flavor of these peppers is pungent and hot. These fruits are usually used in their ripe state after which they are dried and grounded and finally used majorly as seasonings.
Since so many varieties of capsicum are available thus, to ease the process of classification they are categorized as:
1) Capsicum annuum: These are the most extensively used capsicums. They include almost all flavors and are easily available in your local markets. The examples are:
2) Capsicum baccatum: This variety can have its flavors ranging from the fiercely hot one to the mild and non-pungent ones. They have distinctively colored flowers. Examples are:
- Aji Amarillo
- Aji Panca
3) Capsicum chinense: These are perfect for the spice adventurers. Too hot for many as they are not everyone’s cup of tea. The examples of this variety are:
- Red Savina Habanero
- Scotch Bonnet
4) Capsicum pubescens: These are those types which are difficult to grown and often are almost 8 feet in height. These peppers are usually pear or apple shaped. For example:
- Manzano Pepper
- Peruvian Pepper
5) Capsicum frutescens: This category usually finds its natives in Brazil. The famous Tobasco pepper is from this category. They have a distinctively hot taste.
Health Benefits of Capsicum
The various benefits of consuming capsicum are:
1) These are packed to the brim with antioxidants and thus, are prevention for various chronic illnesses. They prevent the growth of free radicals and so, they inhibit the growth of cancer. Antioxidants are also responsible for a healthy cardiovascular system.
2) Capsicum is rich in ascorbic acid which has a great content of vitamin C. Vitamin C further helps in maintaining and boosting the immunity of our body. It helps in maintaining oral hygiene and also fights common cold and flu.
4) Iron in capsicum helps in building hemoglobin in your blood which in turn prevents you from anemia.
5) Capsicums are a rich source of phytochemical too which prevent our skin from getting damaged. They help in maintaining a healthy, nourished and young skin.
6) Capsicums are regarded to be helpful in gastrointestinal conditions and obesity. Their nutritional content also manages to take care of our skin problems, bladder problems, and various forms of cancers.
7) Capsicum contains Vitamin A which helps in maintaining good eyesight. It also helps in maintaining the health of your stomach and intestines.
8) Capsicum is rich in folate which is essential for pregnant ladies. As folic acid is known to support placenta.
Capsicums are not just beautiful and attractive but a handful of health and nutrition. These adorable veggies are, thus, a must have, and you can choose any of the types of capsicums available in your area or locality.
Make sure you try it in all forms possible and also keep in mind that at times steaming effects the nutritive value of veggies and thus grilling or having them raw or baked is the best option to relish their taste and appreciate the health they endow you with.