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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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