Alton Brown's Bell Pepper Slicing Hack Will Save You Precious Prep Time

Bell peppers, particularly the red and yellow varieties, are a tasty, vibrant, and nutritious addition to salads and other recipes. However, chopping bell peppers can be a bit tricky and time consuming. Fortunately, Food Network culinary expert Alton Brown has a great hack you can employ. After removing the top and bottom of the bell pepper, make a vertical cut down the side and lay the pepper flat on the cutting board. This provides easy access to the ribs (i.e. the white portions with the seeds) of the pepper, which can easily be trimmed away.

Also known as the pith of the pepper, the white portion is perfectly safe to eat. Many people choose to remove it and the seeds, however, because they lack flavor and may also ruin the aesthetic appeal of a dish when presentation is key. Keep in mind that bell peppers offer a lot when it comes to nutrients, as they contain vitamins A and C, as well as minerals like manganese and potassium.

Putting Brown's pepper hack into action

Alton Brown's simple yet ingenious and useful hack begins by cutting off the top part of the bell pepper to remove it and the stem. Upon removing the top, a large collection of seeds is visible on the inside, while a lesser portion of seeds remains attached to the white ribs that extend down to the bottom of the pepper. With the top and bottom of the pepper removed, you can easily make the subsequent cuts and slice away the white sections. This method is far more efficient than cutting the pepper into smaller pieces and then attempting to remove the white portions individually.

As for reactions to Brown's hack, commenters on YouTube seem dazzled by his handling of the humble bell pepper. One person stated, "I've learned so much in just this one 5 min episode than I have my whole life," while another exclaimed, "Alton needs to start a Food Science course." One surprising insight that Brown shares as he explains his chopping hack is that bell peppers belong to the same family as chilies. However, bell peppers rank 0 on the Scoville scale, while jalapeño peppers range between 2,500 to 8,000.

How to use bell peppers in recipes

Now that you can efficiently chop bell peppers in your kitchen, the next step is incorporating them into your cooking. When it comes to red and orange varieties, they can be roasted or grilled to achieve the perfect toothsome texture. From there, peppers can be eaten on their own or used as a topping for pizza. Stuffed peppers are another tasty option, especially when they include a delicious filling and are topped with melty cheese.

As for unripe green bell peppers, they're less flavorful than their colorful counterparts. As a result, they need a little extra care and consideration in the kitchen. In this case, using a flavorful garlic-based sauce and stir-frying the peppers with seasoned steak can greatly enhance their appeal. You can also add them to a soup, where they will absorb all the rich and delicious flavors of the other ingredients. As a mainstay of most kitchens, knowing how to handle bell peppers saves you time and helps you create unforgettable recipes.