The effects of ripening stage and processing systems on vitamin C content in sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum L.)

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2005 Feb;56(1):45-51. doi: 10.1080/09637480500081936.


Morrón pepper of 'Fresno de la Vega' (Capsicum annuum L.) is a big sweet variety cultivated in the province of León (northwestern Spain). Changes in vitamin C content of this variety of pepper as a function of ripeness, storage and different preservation systems were studied. The ascorbic acid content increases in peppers as they ripen. For green mature, breaker and red peppers values of 107.3+/-1.84, 129.6+/-3.11 and 154.3+/-7.56 mg/100 g edible portion were found. The vitamin C content for green mature and breaker peppers stored at room temperature (20 degrees C) increased up to 10 days of storage, reaching similar values as those obtained for red peppers direct from the plant. However, stored red ripe peppers showed a significant loss in vitamin C content, around 25%. Refrigeration at 4 degrees C for up to 20 days did not change the ascorbic acid content, except for red peppers, which showed losses around 15%. The ascorbic acid content was altered in response to the preservation procedures assayed. Reductions of 12% and 20-25% during the water blanching and canning process, respectively, were observed. Ascorbic acid retention during freezing was 60%, increasing when the product was previously blanched (87%). Dehydration of peppers resulted in an 88% decrease in ascorbic acid content, whereas freeze-drying did not cause significant losses.

MeSH terms

  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism*
  • Capsicum / metabolism*
  • Capsicum / physiology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Food Handling / methods
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Frozen Foods / analysis
  • Humans


  • Ascorbic Acid