Bell peppers are popular as ingredients in many dishes and this makes it a regular on shopping lists. Similar to the tomato, bell peppers are botanically fruits, but are used as vegetables in preparations. The varied colors of the vegetable and the distinct taste/flavor lends greater appeal to the prepared dish. As a vegetable that is invariably used frequently, the possibility of it being procured in large amounts is high. As a result, the question how long do bell peppers last is one of the most common doubts on the minds of individuals who purchase bell peppers. We will take a studied look to clearly showcase the best use by date of bell peppers from the time it is picked up from a store. We will also look at the best storage practices to ensure that you get maximum shelf life of bell peppers.
Nutritional fact sheet of bell peppers
Before we answer the question how long do bell peppers last let us first look at the nutritional profile of bell peppers to understand its popularity as an ingredient in dishes. Table shows nutrition in 100 grams of raw bell peppers.
|Sugar (glucose, fructose)||4.1 g|
|Fiber (constitute 2 percent of total weight)||2.1 g|
In addition to the above, bell peppers contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin K1 (Phylloquinone), Potassium, Folate (Vitamin B9), Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Bell peppers are also rich in antioxidants (carotenoids) and compounds such as capsanthin, violaxanthin, lutein, quercetin and luteolin.
How long do bell peppers last under different storage conditions?
The answer to the question how long do bell peppers last – depends on the type of bell peppers. For instance, there are four different colors of bell peppers and each has its own ‘use by’ date when stored whole. Green bell peppers last the longest, for as long as 3 weeks from the time of purchase, assuming that you have picked up fresh bell peppers that have been stored right during transit and at the store. The other colors – red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are known to last for as long as 2 weeks when stored whole. Here again, this depends on the freshness and the manner in which the bell peppers were stored during transit or at the store. Bell peppers of any color that are cut into pieces can last for a couple of days, while frozen chopped pieces of bell peppers of all colors are known to last for as long as 5 months in the freezer. This is subject to storing the chopped pieces in proper packs, without frequent thawing and freezing cycles.
How long do bell peppers last in dishes that are prepared with other ingredients?
As bell peppers are used in various cuisines globally, the manner in which bell peppers are used differs. For instance, bell peppers are used in salads, cooked dishes, and stir fried dishes. Bell peppers are good to eat for a long time after preparation. However, to answer the question how long do bell peppers last in dishes – bell peppers last as long as any other ingredient that goes bad the fastest in the dish. In preparations that involve the use of coconut, the dishes are expected to be consumed quickly, failing which the food is likely to go bad. In such instances, bell peppers will last only as long as the other ingredients. Similarly, salads are consumed fresh and are often the last – here, it is important to know that bell peppers do not go bad, but as the other ingredients, lose their flavor or freshness after some time, the whole dish is regarded as unfit for consumption.
Simple methods that can be used to extend the storage life of bell peppers
Now that you have a brief idea of how long do bell peppers last it is time to look at storage methods that maximize the storage life. Bell peppers that are stored whole last long, but only when stored properly. For instance it is ideally stored alongside other vegetables without being too tightly crammed. There should be a little gap between bell peppers and other vegetables that are hard or heavy in comparison. This will prevent the bell peppers from damage as a result of the constant pressure. Never put the bell peppers at the bottom of the vegetable storage rack in your refrigerator. Bell peppers are relatively light when compared with other vegetables such as carrot, potatoes, eggplant etc, and should therefore be stored on top of other heavier vegetables. In the event that you chose to cut/chop bell peppers, and have portions remaining, the cut/chopped pieces need to be packed in a plastic bag and sealed properly if you intend to use it in the next few days.
In the event that you wish to keep bell peppers in stock in your refrigerator for a longer time, then the only option is to chop the bell peppers into pieces and freeze them in a separate container or bag. The best practice for ensuring longer shelf life for the frozen bell peppers is to prevent frequent thawing and freezing cycles. In other words, if you regularly take out the container or the packets, remove a small portion and replace it back in the freezer, then the storage life is bound to be shortened. The best practice is to use multiple small packets and use the contents of one packet fully. Therefore you need to portion the packs accordingly, which will leave other packs undisturbed, thereby extending the shelf life.
Health benefits of bell peppers
Now that you have answers to the question how long do bell peppers last, check out the health benefits of the vegetable. By virtue of the various compounds, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals in bell peppers, the vegetable packs in multiple health benefits. For instance, bell peppers contains Vitamin B6 essential for RBC formation, Vitamin K1 which is important for bone health and blood clotting. Similarly, bell peppers has sufficient potassium and folate that helps improve heart health and health of expectant mothers respectively. It is loaded with antioxidants such as Vitamin E which helps improve muscle and nerve health. On a similar note, bell peppers are rich in carotenoids, powerful antioxidants.
Common health benefits from consumption of bell peppers include improved eye health, prevention of heart disease and cancer. Eye health improvement is attributed to the protective action of the antioxidants in ensuring that the retina is not exposed to oxidation. This has proven benefits in reducing risks associated with macular degeneration and cataract. Another important health benefit of bell peppers is the improvement in health of individuals with anemia. Bell peppers, as a rich source of iron and Vitamin C, help the body to receive adequate amounts of iron and most importantly receives the benefit of increased iron absorption through the guts. Consequently, this helps to reduce iron deficiency and anemic conditions in patients.
Simple hack for storing bell peppers
One of the most popular methods that are commonly used for the storage of bell peppers includes the roasting the bell peppers before placing them in the refrigerator. This is another method that needs to be known as part of answers to the question – how long do bell peppers last. This extends the storage life, while also ensuring that the bell papers are delicious, with the nutrients sealed inside. The roasting typically involves the use of healthy oil, such as olive oil and garlic which helps to flavor the bell peppers. The skin is peeled and the roasted bell peppers can then be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, with the flavor and nutrients intact.