What Is a Red Capsicum?

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Red capsicums, commonly known as red peppers, are not classified as a vegetable. They are actually a fruit, and belong to the Solanaceae family. The Solanaceae family includes tomatoes, petunias, tobacco and potatoes.

Identification

  • Capsicum is the proper name given to the group of annual plants that includes the jalapeno, cayenne and other bell peppers. Red capsicum refers to the varieties that turn a red color when they are mature.

Types

  • There are several types of red capsicum: the large red capsicum, the bullhorn and the baby red variety. Each type has a distinctive taste and appearance.

Uses

  • Red capsicums are used mainly in spicy dishes; they add heat and flavor to ethnic dishes. Other types can add sweetness with a mild, peppery flavor.

Benefits

  • Red capsicums have high amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene. One red capsicum has enough vitamin C to supply the daily allowance to as many as 10 people.

History

  • Christopher Columbus brought capsicums back to Spain from the West Indies. They quickly spread across Asia, Africa and India, eventually reaching all the way to Australia.

Fun Fact

  • Evidence suggests that capsicums have been a part of our diet since 7500 B.C. Cultivation of the capsicum has been documented as far back as 5000 B.C.

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