Versatility the key to capsicum
PACKED with Vitamin C and A, brightly coloured capsicums are at their peak in summer and autumn, so make the most of these sweet healthy vegetables while they're at their best. You'll find them at a variety of stalls at the New Brighton and Mullumbimby Farmers Markets - try Everest Farms, Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, Jumping Red Ant and Morrow Farm (Mullum).
Fresh: Cut into strips for the kid's lunchboxes, add to stir fries, or combine with red onion and cucumber for a quick salad.
As a dip: Roast your capsicums for the best flavour. Combine about three roast capsicums with 125g softened cream cheese, two crushed garlic cloves and some salt and pepper blend in a food processor. Sprinkle with half a cup of finely chopped basil. You can also do a dairy and gluten free version with a cup of cashews soaked overnight, one roast capsicum, a couple of cloves of roasted garlic, 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 teaspoon dried coriander and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
Stuffed: Cut the 'lid' off the capsicum, sprinkle the inside with some salt and then cover and pre-cook in the oven for about 10 minutes before filling with savoury mince sprinkled with cheese, or rice, tomato, pine nuts and fresh herbs. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.
Preserved: Preserving capsicums is a great way to use up a glut from the garden- they're often cheaper when they're in abundance. Roast your capsicums first, once they're clean, pack them into sterilised jars with some thinly sliced garlic. Combine half to one cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and about a teaspoon of salt in jug then pour over capsicum. Seal and store in the fridge, to stir through pasta, in lasagne, sandwiches, on pizza or in sauces and stews.