Cutting Bell Peppers: The Elegant Solution

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    Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers,  are a great and dynamic vegetable giving us multiple ways to use them.  From simply stuffing them, to dicing them as a garnish, to cutting them into slices it all depends on what the intended use for the peppers is.  

    The most common way for people to prepare their peppers is to simply slice them down the middle and scoop out the seep pod, stem and some of the white veins.   While this method is not terrible, it does make making precision cuts a bit more difficult. There is another method that is much more elegant and gives you greater adaptability with your peppers.  

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    The first step to cutting your pepper is to remove the stem end.  Simply cut about a fourth to a third of an inch from stem end. This serves the purpose of partially removing the stem while still taking advantage of the pepper around the stem.

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    Now you have a stable surface to continue cutting from.  The next step is to start cutting the sides of the pepper into flat surfaces.  The easiest way to do this is to cut a line at the obvious edges, then detach the sides from the seed pod by cutting the white membrane.  After this is done cut the bottom piece off the seed pod. You will be left with three or four flat sides, the bottom surface and the seed pod intact without any messy seeds all over your bell pepper.

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    If you want to get really fancy, you can always remove the excess white membrane left on your pepper.  This is kind of an advanced technique and not absolutely necessary. To remove the membrane simply lay your pepper flat and run your knife along the inside removing the membrane.

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    Now with your peppers deconstructed you have the freedom to do what you need. You can leave the sides whole as they are perfect for grilling. You can simply cut them into strips for a julienne. 

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    Or take it a step further and dice them up.  The ring leftover from the initial cut serves perfectly for this purpose.   In either case you can decide how big or small your cuts are. 
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    Using this method of cutting bell peppers gives you a more elegant and cleaner way of preparing them then the traditional way.  The beauty of it all is that it really does not take any more effort than before and you have more control and get a higher yield from your peppers.  This method works great not only on bell peppers, but on most fresh peppers.  So give this technique a try and see if your peppers come out looking beautiful. 

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  1. chef joe atkins
    I have cut peppers many ways; this appears to be a "combination" of all good ways
  2. chef sherry v
    Nice article, Chef Manny! I use your technique and find it to be the best. I rarely have an issue with the outside skin splitting.
  3. alaminute
    Lol, truly every cook is different. I follow jake t. buds' method, except i omit the first step. Simply lay the pepper on my board, slice horizantally longwise into the pepper and unroll. This will remove the entire membrane, core, and seeds in one connected segment and a seperate single rectangle of pepper.
  4. theaterman
    Chef Manny's solution is best, albeit somewhat fussy. It avoids the common problem of the outside skin splitting (before you want it to) when overly large sides "roll flat" on the cutting board as you remove membranes.
  5. jake t buds
    I do asian style if I need an entire pepper. Cut the top and bottom off. Slice like you normally would from top to bottom, only just one side. Unroll the pepper as you slice out the seed pod and membrane. You are left with a large rectangle which can be cut into triangles, batons, dice, whatever. 
  6. luc_h
    I have come up with the same solution as you except that I start at your second step meaning I do not cut the stem out but proceed to cut the sides first.  I follow the shape of the pepper i.e. cut away 3 sides in a 3 sided pepper and 4, for a 4 sided. I basically end up at the same point in step 3 except the stem is triangular or square and thicker. I proceed to cut the few potential dices away from my thicker stem (or munch the meat off in my kitchen when nobody is looking).
    Nice post!!
    Luc H.