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A sweet pepper is a mild to sweet flavored pepper that can be eaten raw or cooked. Some varieties have a sweet but bitter taste. There are many varieties of sweet peppers, such as bell, bull horns, cachucha, cubanelle, European sweet, pimento and sweet banana. The different varieties vary in size, shape, thickness and color. The most common color is green at maturity and red when allowed to fully ripen. Some other common maturity colors are ivory, yellow, orange, purple and brown but the majority turn red when allowed to ripen. A pepper has the strongest taste when considered mature, but not fully ripe. If the peppers are not harvested when mature but are allowed to ripen on the vine, their taste will become progressively more mild and sweet until they are fully ripened. Sweet peppers are eaten raw or cooked and are good in salads, savory dishes, stuffed or eaten on their own.
Sweet peppers are available throughout the year but more varieties are available in July, August and September. When selecting, choose those with shiny, even colored skins that are not blemished or bruised. Avoid peppers with shriveled skins. They can be stored for at least a week if placed in a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator. The riper the pepper is when harvested, the less time it will maintain its freshness.
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