I was thinking the other day how did baby bell peppers (or mini sweet peppers as they are known by some) become popular in today’s cuisine? Were they harvested bell peppers before they grew to the large traditional size we know and buy in the grocery store? According to reliable internet sources and in the chart below it shows the growth color pattern of bell peppers. A green bell pepper is considered unripe and the color of the pepper changes as it ripens to yellow or orange or red and becomes sweeter the longer it stays on the plant. The mini sweet peppers that I’ve purchased are all packaged in a variety of red, orange and yellow. So if they are traditional bell peppers harvested when they are small, they would all be green. Humm…..
Upon further investigation, I found out that vine sweet mini peppers are a hybrid sweet pepper. It was originally developed in the late 1990s by Bionova Produce Inc. formerly R.B. Packing Inc. following a trend to go “mini.” Characteristic traits for these peppers include its small size, that ranges from 1.5 inches up to 4.0 inches. Here’s where the traditional bell peppers and these “minis” differ — each color is grown separately, and consists of three separate variety of seeds that have very similar characteristics in size, flavor, and shape.
So that mystery is solved!
Cleaned peppers oiled and ready for roasting.
Let the stuffing begin!
- 12 mini bell peppers in a variety of colors (red, orange, yellow)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 8 oz package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce or sriracha (optional)
- Dash of black pepper
- Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and stems. Toss in bowl with olive oil to lightly coat.
- Place peppers on a baking sheet skin-side down and roast in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8 minutes (or until the edges show a little color). Remove and cool.
- Mix together cream cheese, walnuts, garlic, salt, hot sauce and black pepper in a bowl until creamy (can be mixed with a fork by hand or in a food processor).
- Fold in green onion and taste test for flavor. Add more seasoning (salt, pepper and/or hot sauce) if needed.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stuff peppers with cream cheese filling either by spooning into each cavity or putting filling into a piping bag and squeezing filling into peppers. There is plenty of filling to generously fill each pepper.
- Bake peppers for 8 minutes (until cream cheese begins to brown).
- Save some of the green onion stems to finely chop and sprinkle on top of the finished peppers. It makes a nice garnish.
- Serve pepper poppers warm if possible, but if they are room temp, they are tasty too.