Purple bell pepper / capsicum

Purple bell pepper

Beets. Eggplant. Red cabbage. You expect these foods to be purple. You might even use beets to color other foods, like pickled eggs, or as a food coloring for Easter eggs.

But, where did purple (sweet Bell, usually green) peppers come from?

And, why?

And, purple potatoes?

Are they really more nutritious, in the sense that foods with a deep color are supposed to be better for you?

Red (sweet) peppers have twice the Vitamin C of green peppers and almost three times that of an orange. Yellow, orange and purple peppers fall in the same nutritional category as red peppers, but are harvested at different times or are from a different cultivar (base plant from which it is propagated) . They also have the antioxident, lycopene, which is also found in tomatoes, watermelon and papayas.

Antioxidents, such as Vitamin C, are thought to lower the risk of heart disease and protect against some cancers.

The potato originated in Southern Peru. There are now between 4,000 and 5,000 varieties around the world.

The so-called blue potato that comes from South America has purple skin and flesh. Varieties include Blue Swede and Cream of the Crop. They contain another antioxident, anthocyanin, also found in blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, cherries, muscadine and Concord grapes, red cabbage and açai berries.

So, the answer is yes, purple foods are nutritious because of their deep color and this applies to purple peppers as well as purple potatoes.

While you can get the same vitamins in other fruits and vegetables, increased attention to nutrition has re-introduced these varieties to the marketplace.

I like purple potato salad. I just didn’t know why.

To you and the colorful foods you share with your grandchildren.

Carol Covin, “Granny-Guru”

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”


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