There are many common myths about Sweet Peppers that are often taken for truth. Our team receives questions every day about this nutrient-packed superfood, so it’s time to set the record straight!
Find the most common myths we hear about Sweet Peppers below, along with the facts you need to know.
Common Myths About Sweet Peppers
Here are some of the most common myths we regularly hear about Sweet Peppers:
- Bell Peppers with four lobes are sweeter
- Bell Peppers have genders, and you can tell by how many lobes they have
- Bell Peppers turn color from green to yellow to orange to red
- All Red Peppers are spicy
- Bell Peppers are considered vegetables
Let’s dig a little deeper into these myths and discover the truth about one of our favorite fresh foods!
Bell Pepper Sweetness
Myth: Bell Peppers with four lobes are sweeter than other Bell Peppers.
When searching for the perfect Bell Pepper in the produce department, many people flip each Pepper over to count the number of lobes located at the base of the fruit. This is because it is a common belief that Bell Peppers with four lobes are sweeter in flavor, but the reality is that a Pepper’s sweetness is not determined by the number of lobes it has. Instead, it is determined by the seed variety and the Pepper’s ripeness!
Some Growers prefer to grow certain Bell Pepper seed varieties because they have a sweeter flavor profile than others. Some of these varieties produce three-lobed Peppers, and others produce four-lobed Peppers. There may be an extremely sweet Bell Pepper variety that typically produces fruit with four lobes, but this is not a hard and fast rule for all Bell Pepper varieties.
Another factor that determines a Bell Pepper’s sweetness is how ripe it is. While Bell Peppers that aren’t fully ripened are still perfectly edible, a fully ripened Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Pepper will be much sweeter in flavor than an unripe Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Pepper (also known as a Green Bell Pepper). But what is important to remember is that a fully-ripened Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Pepper will always have a sweet flavor, no matter how many lobes it has!
Bell Pepper Genders
Myth: Bell Peppers with four lobes are female, and Bell Peppers with three lobes are male.
This is one of the top myths about Sweet Bell Peppers that is constantly being perpetuated on the internet. The truth is that Bell Peppers do not have a gender identity!
What is interesting about Bell Pepper plants is that, as a member of the Nightshade family, they produce “perfect flowers” which contain reproductive systems that are considered both male and female. As a result, there is no gender associated with Bell Pepper fruits, but Bell Pepper plants have organs associated with both the male and female genders!
You can finally rest easy knowing that whether you eat a three-lobed, four-lobed, or even five-lobed Bell Pepper, it has no gender identity.
Bell Pepper Colors & Ripening
Myth: Bell Peppers ripen from green to yellow to orange to red.
Many people believe that Bell Peppers go through a ripening process that changes the fruit’s color from green to yellow to orange to red. Although this would be impressive, it’s not the truth.
First off, all Bell Peppers start green before ripening to their proper color. It is a common misconception that Green Bell Peppers are their own unique variety from Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Peppers. In reality, Green Bell Peppers are prematurely picked Red, Orange, or Yellow Bell Peppers! This means that all Green Bell Peppers are picked early so they don’t fully ripen to their variety-specific color.
Second, the color a Bell Pepper ripens to is determined by the seed variety, not the amount of time it is left on the vine to ripen. This means that a Red Bell Pepper seed will only ripen from green to red – and the same goes for Orange and Yellow Bell Pepper seed varieties.
Peppers & Spice
Myth: All Red Peppers are spicy.
The color red has long been associated with heat and spice, which has led many people to believe that all Red Peppers are spicy. But when it comes to Red Bell Peppers, there is no heat – only sweet!
The reason Red Chili Peppers are hot and Red Bell Peppers are not comes down to one thing – a chemical compound called capsaicin. Red Bell Peppers do not have this chemical compound in them, whereas Red Chili Peppers do. In fact, all Hot Peppers contain at least some capsaicin, not just Red Chili Peppers! The amount of capsaicin in a Hot Pepper determines its ranking on the Scoville Scale – that being said, if we were to rank a Red Bell Pepper on this Scale, it would rank as having zero Scoville Heat Units (while a Red Chili Pepper would have a high rank).
Bell Peppers – Fruits or Vegetables?
Myth: Bell Peppers are vegetables.
It’s easy for people to think of Bell Peppers as vegetables because they are often served like a vegetable ingredient or side dish. However, technically speaking, Bell Peppers are fruits!
A fruit is by definition a food item that contains seeds, whereas vegetables do not contain seeds. When you cut into a Bell Pepper, you can see a cluster of small white seeds located in the middle of the Pepper, under the stem, and attached to the Pepper’s membrane. The cluster of seeds found inside every Bell Pepper indicates that they are in fact fruits!
More Sweet Pepper Resources
We have shed light on some of today’s most common Sweet Pepper myths, but if you’re interested in learning even more about this nutritious superfood, check out more resources below:
The Pepper Lover’s Guide to Sweet Peppers
Bell Pepper FAQs: Your Top 10 Questions Answered