Cupid Bell Peppers
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Cupid peppers are smaller versions of the traditional-sized red bell peppers. They rarely reach lengths longer than 2 inches and have the same slightly rounded cubical shape of their larger cousins only on a smaller scale. Cupid peppers ripen from green to glossy red and have thick succulent walls with minimal seeds in the cavity. The peppers are most often harvested when red and fully mature. They are sweet and have a juicy, crunchy texture.
Cupid peppers may be found year-round with peak season in the summer and fall.
Cupid peppers are a sweet bell pepper variety of Capsicum annuum. They are an early ripening, miniature version of conventional bell peppers. There is a yellow counterpart called the Eros pepper, a similarly sized yellow bell pepper. Mini bell peppers are often marketed as ‘snacking peppers’ in the stores.
Bell peppers are nutrient-dense vegetables, with vitamins C, A, E, B6 and six different carotenoids – the phytonutrients responsible for the deep red color of the small-statured bell peppers. These different carotenoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, and have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.
The small Cupid bell pepper is well-suited for stuffing for appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, or for slicing up for little fingers. Stuff with crabmeat and breadcrumbs and top with parmesan cheese and bake. Cupid bell peppers are ideal for salsas or salads and are the perfect size for grilled vegetable kabobs. Rinse peppers under cool water. Cut off the stem and calyx and use a spoon to remove the seeds and small inner ribs of the Cupid bell pepper. The pepper can be sliced, diced, julienned, or kept whole. Cupid bell peppers will keep up to a week when refrigerated.
The National Garden Bureau named 2015 the year of the sweet pepper. According to their website, they made the decision because sweet peppers are “easy to grow, require very little space and are an attractive addition to any garden, yard, or balcony.”
Members of Capsicum annuum, bell peppers and spicy peppers, are native to Central and South America and the Caribbean (or West Indies). Long used by natives in those countries, the peppers were taken back to Europe along with other spoils of exploration by Christopher Columbus. Many bell pepper varieties are developed and grown in Holland and Italy. Mini bell peppers, also referred to as “mini snacking peppers” have become more popular in the United States since 2006. Since then more varieties have been developed. The small Cupid bell peppers are still limited in their availability to small farmer’s markets and home gardens.