Food & dining

short order

Perfect time to pick a pepper

Bethany Graber for the boston globe

Few vegetables can boast such a spectacular command of the color spectrum as bell peppers. Though they are available all year, mostly imported from Holland, bell peppers are at their peak now, growing in an array of rainbow shades. They have a distinctive flavor that differs just slightly depending on the color of its flesh. Green and yellow are bright and sharp. Orange, red, and purple are softer, with a hint of sweetness. Though perfectly delicious raw on a crudite platter or tucked into the lunchbox, cooking mellows them. This allows the peppers to play well with other summer vegetables in dishes such as ratatouille and succotash. Other specialties that highlight the unique fleshiness are peperonata, an Italian stew with tomatoes and onions, or a stuffed dish of hollowed peppers filled with a beef-rice mixture and topped with cheese. These beauties give the Crayola box a run for its money. Available at farmers’ markets and farmstands.