U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The Chemical Difference Between Red, Yellow, and Green Bell Peppers

U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: A green bell pepper is just an unripe yellow pepper, which is just an unripe red pepper (though some varieties ripen to yellow, not red). The same is true for green olives, which are unripe black olives, and the seeds inside green beans are just regular beans that haven’t grown up yet. The produce section is apparently full of lies.

The differences in bell pepper taste, appearance, and aroma are not genetic but chemical, as the ripening process releases a series of colorful, delicious natural compounds. 

As the latest great infographic from Compound Interest shows, peppers do go through three distinct traffic-light stages, each with its own chemical components. In its green form, a pepper is especially plant-like, packed with chlorophyll and “green-smelling” aldehydes. Yellow and orange peppers take their color from lutein and beta-carotene, the chemicals responsible for the sunny and orange hues of egg yolks and carrots, respectively. As a pepper reddens, it begins producing more (E)-2-hexenal and (E)-2-hexanol, which give it a sweet, fruity smell.

Want to watch your own peppers change color? You can leave them to ripen on the plant in your vegetable patch, if you've got one, or you can bring them in (or buy them) and store them in a perforated bag or box in a dark, cool room for a few weeks.

Click the infographic to get a more detailed look.

Image credit: Compound Interest // CC BY-ND 4.0

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

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Recall Alert: Swiss Rolls And Bread Sold at Walmart and Food Lion Linked to Salmonella
Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons // CC 1.0

New items have been added to the list of foods being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination. According to Fox Carolina, snack cakes and bread products produced by Flowers Foods, Inc. have been pulled from stores in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The baked goods company, based in Georgia, has reason to believe the whey powder it buys from a third-party supplier is tainted with salmonella. The ingredient is added to its Swiss rolls, which are sold under various brands, as well as its Captain John Derst’s Old Fashioned Bread. Popular chains that normally sell Flowers Foods products include Walmart and Food Lion.

The U.S. is in the middle of a salmonella outbreak. In June, Kellogg's recalled Honey Smacks due to contamination and the CDC is still urging consumers to avoid the brand. The cereal has sickened dozens of people since early March. So far, there have been no reported illnesses connected to the potential Flower Foods contamination.

You can find the full list of recalled items below. If you have one of these products in your kitchen, throw it out immediately or return it to the store where you bought it to be reimbursed.

  • Mrs. Freshley's Swiss Rolls
  • Mrs. Freshley's Swiss Rolls
  • Food Lion Swiss Rolls
  • Baker's Treat Swiss Rolls
  • Market Square Swiss Rolls
  • Great Value Swiss Rolls
  • Captain John Derst's Old Fashioned Bread

[h/t Fox Carolina]

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iStock
The Annual Festivals That Draw the Most People in Every State
iStock
iStock

Every state has that one big event each year that draws residents from across the region or even across the nation. Louisiana has Mardi Gras. Kentucky has the Kentucky Derby. South Dakota has Sturgis. Genfare, a company that provides fare collection technology for transit companies, recently tracked down the biggest event in each state, creating a rundown of the can't-miss events across the country.

As the graphic below explores, some states' biggest public events are national music and entertainment festivals, like Bonnaroo in Tennessee, SXSW in Texas, and Summerfest in Wisconsin—which holds the world record for largest music festival.

Others are standard public festival fare. Minnesota hosts 2 million people a year at the Minnesota State Fair (pictured above), the largest of its kind in the U.S. by attendance. Mardi Gras celebrations dominate the events calendar in Missouri, Alabama, and, of course, Louisiana. Oktoberfest and other beer festivals serve as the biggest gatherings in Ohio (home to the nation's largest Oktoberfest event), Oregon, Colorado, and Utah.

In some states, though, the largest annual gatherings are a bit more unique. Some 50,000 people each year head to Brattleboro, Vermont for the Strolling of the Heifers, a more docile spin on the Spanish Running of the Bulls. Montana's biggest event is Evel Knievel Days, an extreme sports festival in honor of the famous daredevil. And Washington's biggest event is Hoopfest, Spokane's annual three-on-three basketball tournament.

Mark your calendar. Next year could be the year you attend them all.

A graphic list with the 50 states pictured next to information about their biggest events
Genfare

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