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The Difference Between Red, Yellow and Green Peppers

More importantly, why are the red ones ALWAYS more expensive?
Difference Between Red, Yellow & Green Bell Peppers
Photo: Michelle McMahon/Getty Images

An indispensable part of Tex-Mex fajita night and one the few veggies tasty enough to be eaten raw without the help of hummus, bell peppers are mainstays in most of our produce drawers at home. But have you ever wondered why they come in so many colors and, more importantly, why they vary so much in price?

It's not a matter of pigment discrimination: Red and yellow bell peppers are essentially just green peppers that have been allowed to ripen. Red peppers are fully ripened, and they require more time to grow, resulting in their sweeter, fruitier flavor and higher price sticker. On the other hand, since green bell peppers can be harvested sooner, they're cheaper to grow and sell, in addition to having a trademark grassy, mildly bitter flavor. Yellow peppers are simply in the middle of the spectrum when it comes to ripeness (though some varieties remain yellow when fully mature).

As they ripen, bell peppers also vary in nutritional content. According to The Science Explorer, while green peppers aren't an unhealthy choice by any means, their more mature and wizened older brothers and sisters have around twice the amount of vitamin C and almost nine times more beta-carotene. (You know, perfect for when you want to hollow them out and fill them with booze.)

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