Picking sweet peppers from the garden is one of my favorite tasks. I always plant several varieties which produce an array of vibrantly colored bell peppers. Not only does my bell pepper harvest look stunning in a bowl on my kitchen counter, the various colors of mature peppers add eye appeal to my meals.
Unfortunately, harvesting sweet peppers in a multitude of bright colors creates a huge problem for me. I always choose my favorite varieties like Big Bertha, Red Knight, Golden Summer and Orange Sun. Then I add a few packs of hybrid mix peppers to get those desirable purple and chocolate-brown colors.
I want my bell pepper harvest to include every color available, so I keep buying those teeny-tiny seed packets. They take up so little room in my seed box. And peppers are the first veggie plants I start, so I hardly notice as the space under my grow lights becomes crowded with pepper seedlings.
What to Do with Lots of Bell Peppers
Late winter, when I'm starting my plants, harvesting sweet peppers seems far away. I hardly think about what to do with lots of bell peppers as I'm sowing seeds. Reality sinks in when I begin transplanting pepper seedlings into the garden. Those teeny-tiny seed packets have turned into rows and rows of quick growing pepper plants. Blossoms soon turn into fruit and before long I'm picking sweet peppers.
Once the peppers reach maturity, their colorful hues fill the many rows of plants. The bell pepper harvest season has arrived and with it comes that dilemma of what to do with all those bell peppers. If you overplant like I do, here are some ideas for utilizing that bumper bell pepper harvest:
- Stir fry: Make a colorful entrée like pepper steak, or combine pepper strips with other garden veggies for a vibrant side dish.
- Salads: Use red, yellow and orange peppers to top summer salads.
- Snacks: Cut bright strips of red, orange and purple peppers for a quick and healthy snack. Serve with your favorite veggie dip.
- Frittata or omelet: The super sweetness of red bell peppers pairs well with salty breakfast meats.
- Pepper jelly: The sweetness of red bell peppers makes the perfect fruit for preserving as a jelly. Pair with cream cheese and crackers for an easy hors d'oeuvre when entertaining.
- Pepper relish: Use a rainbow of bell peppers to make this tangy condiment. Pepper relish is the perfect accompaniment for burgers or with pinto beans and ham.
- Stuffed peppers: Break out your well-worn recipe for this family favorite or explore the many cultural variations of this dish.
- Stuffed pepper soup: This take on the family favorite makes the perfect comfort food for cold winter nights.
- Mild salsa: Substitute bell peppers for jalapenos to create a less spicy version of salsa or pico de gallo.
- Fried peppers: Granted, this isn't the healthiest option, but who can resist the combination of fresh fried peppers on an Italian sausage sandwich.
- Pizza: Spruce up a store-bought pie with colorful sweet peppers or create your own veggie topped pizza.
- Dehydrate: Sprinkle dried pepper flakes on roasts, salads or in soups for a saltless flavor boost.
- Freeze: Although a little mushy when thawed, peppers freeze well and impart bell pepper flavor to cooked dishes.
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.
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