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Is a Bell Pepper a Fruit?

March 27, 2023

March is National Nutrition Month and our students have been celebrating by boosting their knowledge of this month’s Produce Pick of the Month: bell peppers.

Many of us grew up thinking a bell pepper is a vegetable, so you’re probably surprised to know it’s actually a fruit! Fruits come from the flowering part of a plant and contain seeds whereas vegetables come from elsewhere (usually roots, leaves or stems) and do not contain seeds. Based on its stem, one would assume that bell peppers grow on a vine-like plant, but did you know it literally grows out of a flower? Check out this cool time lapse video to see the process. Since they grow out of a flower and contain seeds, bell peppers are actually classified as fruits! 

These are just some of the fun facts the kids in our nutrition education classes have been learning about this month as they learn about the produce pick of the month: bell peppers. Bell peppers originated in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Peppers were named by Christopher Columbus and Spanish explorers who were searching for peppercorn plants to produce black pepper. But unlike other pepper plants such as the peppercorn which are spicy, bell peppers are actually sweet, and the longer they stay on the plant, the sweeter they get.

The amount of time spent on the plant also impacts the pepper’s color. They start out as green peppers, which are the most bitter pepper, and over time ripen to become yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, or white. You read that right. While yellow, orange, and red peppers are most commonly found in grocery stores, peppers can be a variety of other colors as well. Who knew? Well, farmers and botanists for sure – and now you and our students!

Bell peppers’ sweet taste makes them a versatile addition to a variety of recipes. But if you’re looking for something quick, affordable, and sure to be a hit at your next party check out our Bell Pepper Sailboats recipe:

  1. Cute the mini bell pepper in half, carefully removing the membranes and seeds, but leaving the stem intact. 
  2. Fill with hummus or any filling you desire.
  3. Slice a piece of cheese diagonally and set in hummus. 
  4. Let sit in the fridge for five minutes to set up before serving.

Before we sail out of National Nutrition Month, we wanted to leave you with these important facts.

Obesity and food insecurity are an issue in Clark County:

  • Nevada ranks in the bottom half of the country in obesity in children ages 10-17, with a rate of 16%. 
  • It is detailed that a child who grows up overweight has a 70% chance of being overweight as an adult.
  • Attributing to this problem is that the state of Nevada has no mandated nutrition health curricula or physical education for K-12 public schools. 
  • According to No Kid Hungry, 25% of children face hunger in Clark County. 

Our Healthy Eating Education Program combats all of these issues by addressing the critical challenge of changing eating behaviors of children in underserved areas of Southern Nevada’s Clark County School District. Become a Healthy Eating Hero and make a donation to support our nutrition education efforts today! 

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