Learn how to de-seed and slice a colorful array of sweet peppers (with a minimal amount of waste).
Bell peppers, with their uniquely oblong shape, crunchy texture, and sweet, refreshing flavor, are a staple ingredient in so many recipes. They are available year-round and they're a versatile and colorful ingredient in all kinds of recipes. If you use them often, you should know how to cut a bell pepper properly, including removing the ribs and seeds, and then slicing the peppers into julienne strips, rings, and more. Use our handy guide to learn the basic techniques for prepping a bell pepper, whether you’re going to blend it into a cooling gazpacho, serve it as crudités alongside a medley of dips, or bake it in a savory rice stuffing.
The Tools You Need to Cut a Bell Pepper
Set yourself up for success by gathering the tools you’ll need to easily prep bell peppers:
Cutting board: Securing your cutting board is the most important step to take. Place a non-slip pad or damp paper towel under the cutting board to keep it from sliding around the countertop.
Chef's knife: A large sharp chef's knife will do most of the work. It will help you prep the bell pepper to start removing the ribs and seeds. You’ll also use it to slice the pepper before cooking it.
Small paring knife or spoon: You can use either a paring knife or small spoon to shave off the ribs from the inside of the peppers.
The level of sweetness in bell peppers varies as much as their colors (some even take on several different hues at the same time). All bell peppers start out green—and green bell peppers are the least sweet of the bunch. As the peppers ripen and mature, they develop into stunning shades of yellow, orange, and red, getting progressively sweeter too.
How to Remove the Ribs and Seeds
Before you can slice the bell pepper for your recipe, you’ll need to remove the bitter ribs and seeds. There are three simple ways to separate the pepper from its ribs and seeds.
Remove the top: Once you remove the top with the stem attached, it’s easy to simply pull out the collection of seeds (if they don’t all come out attached to each other, simply tap the bottom of the pepper to release the remaining seeds). There are two ways to remove the top: 1) Use your chef’s knife to cut straight across, leaving the bulk of the pepper with a straight edge. 2) Hold your knife (a paring knife works great here) at a slight angle and shimmy the blade around the stem. This will create slightly less waste and you can pop the seeds out the same way.
Slice off the cheeks: Holding the pepper upright, slice from top to bottom, cutting around the stem and core. Think of this like how you might prepare an apple to snack on, leaving the core behind. You should end up with four hunks of bell pepper. If there are any bits of ribs left attached, simply use your chef or paring knife to trim off the excess.
Divide in half: This method is great if you’re making stuffed peppers. Cut the pepper in half vertically, through the stem. Use a paring knife or spoon to scoop the clump of seeds away from the flesh of the pepper.
4 Ways to Cut a Bell Pepper
There’s more than one way to cut bell peppers. Once you've removed the ribs and seeds, use one of these four techniques:
Working with the natural curve of the bell pepper, use your knife to cut the pepper into strips. They can be as thick or thin as you like (or the recipe calls for).
How to Use Sliced Bell Peppers: Use when sautéing peppers and onions for things like frittatas or when skewering on the grill. Thick slices are also perfect to add to cheese and charcuterie boards or for dipping into savory fondue.
To julienne peppers, follow the same technique as for slicing, but make the strips thinner.
To make rings, follow the technique for slicing and remove the top. This will leave the bell pepper with a nice, round shape that you can cut into thin rings.
How to Use Bell Pepper Rings: Rings of bell pepper will add crunch to salads and sandwiches. They're also great for pickling or scattering onto your pizza of choice.
Chopped or Diced
Start by slicing the bell pepper into more manageable planks, then cut the planks as small as you’d like.
How to Use Chopped or Diced Bell Peppers: Chopped or diced peppers will add crunch to tuna salad or warm panzanella. Use them to add bulk to ratatouille or create a crunchy relish to spoon over meat and seafood.
Read the original article on Martha Stewart.