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This is a time of year when many of the green chile and bell peppers at my local groceries show touches of red and yellow; I've discovered that they will continue ripening even in the refrigerator. Green peppers* plus time equal red peppers--at considerable savings, since ripe peppers are far more expensive than the corresponding green varieties (understandably so, since the ripe ones will have required the expenses of longer cultivation.)

The flavor sweetens and--in the case of hot peppers--mellows the bite, but I'm wondering what effect shelf-ripening has on the nutritional content: is the increase in carotenoid vitamins offset by the decline in freshness?

*Providing that they already show touches of the eventual ripe color; I've never had a wholly green pepper ripen after purchase.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
aitherion
Apr. 17th, 2014 07:17 am (UTC)
No, they won't lose a substantial amount of nutrition. Once you pick the pepper it's done gaining nutrition but as long as it's stored properly, since peppers and tomatoes will ripen naturally even after being picked, it should retain the grand majority of its nutrition. Any loss due to dehydration or air exposure without the protection of the plant wouldn't change the chemical structure enough to screw it up too badly.
full_metal_ox
Apr. 17th, 2014 09:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you; that was something I'd been wondering for some time. (In my neck of the woods [southwestern Ohio], it'll be a bit longer before vine-ripened local peppers become an option.)
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