When you hear "bell pepper", the first thing you might think about is that it comes from Bulgaria. But it's not that simple. In fact, only in Russia is sweet pepper called Bulgarian. And this is due to the long history of the travel of this product around the world.
Paprika, or bell peppers, is the fruit of an annual vegetable from the nightshade family. Although it is customary to call it “Bulgarian” in Russia, Central America is considered its homeland. Wild peppers still grow in Mexico, Colombia and other countries in the region. This non-hot pepper has come a long way to get to our country. At the end of the 15th century, the Spaniards first brought it to Europe, then through Portugal the pepper came to Turkey, and several centuries later the sweet pepper reached Bulgaria.
In European countries, it was used more often in ground form as a seasoning. In its fresh form, it was almost never consumed. The first to start growing this crop for food were the Spaniards. But it was the Bulgarian breeders who bred sweet varieties with large fruits. Paprika significantly diversified the tastes of European cuisines, since at that time seasonings and spices were supplied mainly from India and cost a lot of money. The Spaniards also brought chili peppers from Central America, but not all Europeans liked this hot seasoning. And paprika, unlike chili, had a mild, sweet taste. Sweet peppers were especially popular in the Balkans. The very word "paprika", which is now used all over the world, is of Hungarian origin. Hungarian spice has a bright red, rich color and aroma. It is appreciated for its excellent quality.
At the end of the 17th century, the Bulgarians brought sweet peppers to the territory of Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. We have already known this culture under the name "Turkish pepper". In the Old Slavonic chronicles there is a mention of the fact that the "herbalist", as this plant was then called, was used for medicinal purposes. They were treated for anemia, dizziness, asthma, and the taste of pepper was appreciated only at the turn of the 19th century. In Soviet times, the main flow of sweet pepper supplies came from Bulgaria - this is how the name "bell pepper" took root in our country.
Useful properties of bell pepper
Nowadays, bell peppers are widely used both fresh and stewed, fried or baked. It acts as the main component of such dishes as lecho, paprikash; it is stuffed with minced meat with rice, cottage cheese, feta cheese, etc. The seasoning made from dried red peppers is added to meat, fish, vegetable dishes; it is seasoned with cheeses, cottage cheese and eggs. We can say that this product is versatile.
Bell pepper is a source of vitamins B, A, C, E, P, PP. It is rich in potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, iodine and silicon. To provide a daily dose of these elements, 30-40 g of bell pepper is enough. Due to the abundance of nutrients, Bulgarian pepper is indispensable for people suffering from cardiovascular diseases, depression and vitamin deficiencies. Bell pepper helps to improve blood circulation, has a beneficial effect on the condition of hair and skin, and stimulates appetite.