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The red, orange and yellow bell peppers you see in the grocer's are most likely hot-house grown in Holland. They are sold at auction, then shipped to the States. The Dutch strive for perfection when growing these - from the greenhouse hydroponics to the packaging and they can get quite pricey. Canada is now growing some greenhouse colored bells, and there are some Dutch greenhouses outside of Pittsburgh - but it is still more expensive than the Florida or Mexican green bell pepper. Look for Red LeRouge peppers as an alternative to the red bell - they are very sweet and have a tender skin.
Red, green & yellow bell peppers all come from the same plant, however they are picked at different levels of maturity. The peppers generally turn green first, then yellow/orange and finally red. The green are harvested before they become fully ripe which gives them a longer shelf life in the supermarket. The growers have less time to maintain them and less loss of the edible vegetable, than one that is allowed to mature more fully.
There are a few varieties that start off red and stay red.
Because of the extra growing time, red bell peppers contain almost 8-9 times more Vitamin A than both green and yellow peppers. They contain more Vitamin C than yellow peppers, and more than double green peppers, and they contain more than double the Beta Carotene of both green and yellow peppers.
Go without peppers if you have to purchase ones that are grown 8,000 miles away.
Green peppers are just that....green (not ripe yet). Ripe peppers take longer to grow...hence, are more expensive.
If you have to purchase peppers grown 8,000 miles away...go without them.
Thanks for all your replies. lots of useful information!