Bell Peppers

So, my wife can not eat green bell peppers. She says they are too hot.

Meanwhile, everyone else I know, myself included, finds that bell peppers are not only “not very hot,” they seem to us to be not hot at all.

I always assumed bell peppers were simply bereft of heat. But perhaps I was wrong?

What I am wondering is this: is it that my wife has a sensititivty to Caiapsin (sp? The chemical that makes peppers hot…) or is it that her mind is playing tricks on her?

Gimme the EsDee.


Bell peppers are not hot. Has your wife ever had any chipotle peppers?? : )

Your wife is most likely, to put it kindly, exaggerating things a bit. Capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that causes their heat, is measured in what are known as Scoville units.

This chart summarizes the Scoville ratings for various types of peppers, ranging up to 200,000-500,000 units for habanero peppers. The alert reader will note that the Scoville rating for your average bell pepper is exactly zero, meaning it is completely lacking in capsaicin, and therefore “heat” of any kind.

My neighbor is also extremely sensitive to peppers and even finds pimentoes to be too hot. Such people do exist.

Pemientos are the same as bell peppers, right? Just making sure…

Anyway, so if that site says bell peppers have 0 content of that chemical, perhaps there is another chemical in the bell peppers which might cause a heat reaction in certain people?

Anyone think this is the case?


I think she’s trying to give the hint that your cooking isn’t that good. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are people referred to as “supertasters” who are much more sensitive to foods. Such people are typically identified because of their constant complaints that food is “too hot”, “too strong”, “too bitter”, “too sour”, or otherwise overwhelming to their sense of taste. This a result of actual structural differences in their taste sensors that makes them far more sensitive to taste than the average person. It’s a genetically controlled trait, meaning it’s there from birth and can be passed on to offspring. Occassionally, you’ll find a “supertaster” who has learned to love hot/spicy food, but it’s very unusual.

There are folks who go the other way, and are less sensitive than average to taste.

Or maybe she just doesn’t like bell peppers.

now, don’t get me wrong, if they are put in front of me i eat them, but i don’t cook them myself…

green peppers have NO TASTE. they are unripe red peppers, and who wants to eat something that’s not ripe?
i think your wife is confusing them with something else…because eg birdeye chillis the green ones are hotter.

I disagree that bell peppers have no taste. They have a decidedly mild flavor and are to my senses in no way hot. Given my somewhat limited gustatory vocabulary, I would have to say that for a pepper, bell papers are actually somewhat sweet.

If I understand correctly, the heat from many peppers comes from oils in their seeds, and that may be why there is some disagreement on bell peppers, since most (but perhaps not all) people remove the seeds from bell peppers in preparing them. I know that most of the time I see bell peppers on something, they are either diced into colorful confetti or served as rings.

Sneak some into something that she eats. Then wait for the response. I bet she won’t know the difference.

(Any chance she also suffers from "multiple chemical sensitivity???)

Hee-hee. And I was just watching Mrs. Doubtfire just the other day. :slight_smile:

“Help is on the way, dear!”

As something of a bell pepper aficionado, I feel I should provide a bit of commentary. First bell peppers are not hot; I suspect that the spousal unit in question is either confusing them with some other pepper or just choosing this rather roundabout approach to saying “I hate bell peppers!”

Second, bell peppers are not tasteless, they simply have a fairly balanced flavor–slightly sweet, slightly tangy, with a hint of bitterness near the seeds (a tiny pinch of salt completes the effect, although I generally consider this crass). As they become more ripe (edging toward red), the tanginess fades into increased sweetness, and the pepper becomes less crisp. The green peppers tend to become a bit more bitter when cooked (well, wouldn’t you?), particularly if the seeds are left in them. I generally avoid the cooked ones for this reason (and the somewhat slimy texture they acquire).

Given that I despise bell peppers (green included), I must disagree with the contention that they have no taste. But they definitely aren’t hot.

Your wife probably just doesn’t like the way the bell pepper tastes, and excuses that as “hot”. My friend’s baby does that, but she’s two, so it’s cute.

I myself am not partial to raw bell pepper, but when it is cooked it is sweet and soft rather than crunchy and gross. And when raw, they do taste peppery: unpleasant but not really hot. Chop some up and throw it in with onion to brown next time you make homemade spaghetti sauce (or add browned onion/pepper mix to canned if you’re lazy). Chop it fine so she can’t see it or pick it out. Don’t tell her you’ve done this until after she’s eaten it. Ask her a few bites in if she likes the sauce. When she’s cleaned her plate, then tell her about the pepper.

I love peppers of all kinds, including green. Eat them all the time, raw and cooked.

Once, I did actually bite into a green bell pepper, and it turned out to be kinda hot. Only happened once, and I’ve eaten many, many green peppers in my life. I assumed it was some kind of mutant, and I don’t expect it to ever happen again.

Perhaps your wife ate one of these mutants, too. I think it far more likely that she is simply confused, though.

Perhaps she is thinking of jalepenos, which are green colored peppers with some heat to them?

I would have to say an average bell pepper is not hot at all. But if a bell pepper is kept near other hot peppers(at the store or in the vegetable drawer) they will pick it up quickly. This may be UL but I’ve also heard that if bell pepper plants and hot pepper plants are grown very close to each other then the bell peppers will be hotter(One guy said it was because of cross pollenation, other guy said because the heat leeched through to ground, so believe at your own risk) I’ve never had it happen, but it might explain the mutant pepper mystery. I’ve never had a mutant pepper, but once I had a mutant white onion that was probably Jalepeno hot.
Damn, Now I gotta go grill some green peppers. :slight_smile:

In the end, I think it may be that my wife is one of those “supertasters.” She loves bland food, and this has always puzzled me. For example, she has in the past preferred a bowl of plain rice to a plate of spaghetti, and on another occasion preferred to eat flour tortillas for dinner rather than anything that actually had flavor. And it’s not that she just tolerated the plain foods because she didn’t like any of the others - she actively wanted to eat these things. She finds them to be tasty treats.

And, she is always pointing out htat foods are too hot or too sweet or whatever. I think she must just have x-man tastebuds or something. :wink:

Thanks for your replies…

Regarding the bell peppers, since my original post she has clarified that when she calls them “hot,” its not exactly the same thing as the “hot” you get from chilis. She describes it as “a horrible vapor-like feeling and this irritating bitter taste I can taste all through my mouth and down to the back of my tongue. And afterwards, I burp alot, and it tastes gross.”

So there you go. Her doctor suggests it may even be an allergy, but I think the “x-man tastebud” thing is the way to go. :slight_smile:


A “chipotle” isn’t really a kind of pepper. It’s a smoked (and sometimes marinated) jalapeno pepper.

Bell peppers generally don’t have any heat to them, but they belong to the same family as the other peppers - capsicum. I did taste a homegrown bell pepper that was a little hot once, and I theorized that it was because it was grown near chile peppers, but I don’t know that this was the reason.

[Edited by JillGat on 06-20-2001 at 08:46 PM]

Absolutely true–the cross-pollination. I have a rather large garden, and thought it was big enough for both bell peppers and hot (well, mild–Anaheims and poblanos). When the peppers were picked, though the bell peppers had a bit of a bite and much thinner walls than usual.

This seems odd, as the humble bell pepper seems to me to be one of the most benign vegetables one can eat.

However, I do know a couple people that do get heartburn as a result of eating them, and thus describe the peppers as being “hot”. From your follow-up post, it seems that this is not quite the case.