Purple beauty bell peppers

Bell Pepper ‘Purple Beauty’

Height:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Heat (Pungency):

Sweet (0 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:

Bell

Fruit Size:

Medium (4″ to 6″ in length)

Fruit Color:

Purple changing to red

Disease Resistance:

Unknown – Tell us

Seed Type:

Open-pollinated

Usage:

Fresh (salsa, salads)

Frying

Stuffing

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Days to Maturity:

Mid (69-80 days)

Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown – Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Channel Islands Beach, California

Oceanside, California

Danbury, Connecticut

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Waverly, Georgia

Ewing, Kentucky

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Zimmerman, Minnesota

Reno, Nevada

Felicity, Ohio

Newark, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania(2 reports)

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Houston, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

Spicewood, Texas

Radford, Virginia

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Shopping for vegetables in Japan can be rather confusing, even if you get past the initial language barrier. For instance, why are green bell peppers called “pīman,” and red or yellow ones “papurika?” And then there are the many type of chili peppers, which are known collectively as tōgarashi.

There’s a reason for this, though: The different names are clues as to when each type of pepper was introduced to Japan. Hot and sweet peppers are both members of the capsicum family, and originally came from South and Central America. While there are various theories as to when they were introduced to Japan, an early 19th-century document states that the Portuguese first brought chili peppers to Japan in the mid-16th century. Originally chili peppers were called nanban koshō, which literally means “peppercorns from southern foreign lands.” This was eventually superseded by the current name of tōgarashi — karashi (mustard) from China (Tang).

Initially, the spicy little peppers were not eaten. Instead, their seeds were used to grow decorative plants, or the peppers themselves were inserted into tabi (traditional nonstretchy socks or foot coverings) to keep the toes warm.

By the mid- to late 17th century, red chili peppers were a part of everyday cuisine, used in condiments like shichimi tōgarashi, a mixture of dried ground chili peppers with sesame seeds, citrus peel and other ingredients. The most popular variety of hot pepper in Japan, called taka no tsume (literally, “dragon’s nails”) — a synonym for tōgarashi — was probably cultivated around this time, too.

Sweet bell peppers didn’t enter the Japanese diet until the modern era, although they were used as decorative plants prior to that. Green bell peppers came from the United States in the early Meiji Era (1868-1912) and were eventually given the name piman, derived from the French word “piment” — which actually means chili pepper rather than sweet pepper (known as “poivron” in French). This is possibly because French cuisine was the most influential type of Western cuisine at the time.

However, green bell peppers only became widely used in Japan after World War II. Around the mid- to late 1960s they began being considered an everyday vegetable, and eventually became so ubiquitous that they have the dubious distinction of being selected as the vegetable Japanese children hate the most, year after year. The slight bitterness in green peppers is due to their immaturity, which lessens as they ripen.

The last kind of pepper introduced to Japan is the colorful red or yellow type — which are just ripe versions of the green bell pepper. Quite a few people in Japan mistakenly believe that they’re another vegetable altogether, and the different name for them — papurika — doesn’t help. This name again betrays the peppers’ origins: In the early 1990s, importation rules for fresh produce changed, so the Netherlands started exporting vegetables to Japan. Bell peppers are called paprika in Dutch, so that was the name given to these big, bright peppers, partially to differentiate them from those nasty (as far as kids were concerned) green peppers — although some people do call them “colored pīman,” too.

Whatever their name or color, peppers are in season right now. The recipe this month combines them with eggplants, another summer vegetable, for a quick and hearty stir fry that’s great with plain white rice.

Ingredients:

Serves 2 to 4

  • 4 small Japanese eggplants
  • 2 small green peppers
  • 1/2 of a large red pepper
  • 1/2 of a large yellow pepper (or use 1 large red or yellow pepper)
  • 200 grams ground pork or pork/beef mix
  • 1 tablespoon of sake
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped (about 2 teaspoons worth)
  • 2 small dried chili peppers (taka no tsume), finely crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons of red miso
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of mirin or 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • vegetable oil for cooking

Cut the eggplants into small bite-sized pieces. De-seed and cut up the peppers to the same size.

Sprinkle the ground meat with the sake, mix and set aside.

Combine the miso, sesame oil, mirin or sugar, and soy sauce, and set aside.

Put about three tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large frying pan or wok. Shallow fry the eggplant until it has browned and is soft. Drain and set aside.

Add one tablespoon of oil, the ginger and chili peppers to the same pan and stir fry for a minute.

Add the ground meat and brown.

Put in the peppers and stir fry for two-three minutes.

Cover the pan with a lid and steam-cook for three-four minutes until the peppers are crisp but tender.

Return the eggplants to the pan, and stir in the miso sauce.

Serve immediately, or cool and use in bentō (boxed lunch).

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Late Blight

Phytopthora infestans

This fungus disease is notorious because it caused the Potato Famine that killed one and a half million Irish people and causing another million to emigrate. Though best known as a potato disease, it also affects tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. It is called Late Blight because it prefers warmer weather than Early Blight and usually occurs later in the year (it doesn’t usually bother early crops). The spores are most often carried by soil splashed on to leaves by rain or overhead irrigation. They can also be carried on the wind and in the right conditions they can travel long distances rapidly (as happened during the Potato Famine).

This fungus prefers high humidity, wet weather and mild temperatures (50 to 80 degrees F). It first manifests itself as gray-brown necrotic patches on the margins of lower leaves, but these quickly enlarge and kill the whole leaves (sometimes overnight). Brown sunken patches appear on the tubers and may spread into the flesh causing it to rot (or provide entry for other rot causing organisms). The fruit may also rot.

In cool wet weather you should watch for signs of infection and remove any affected plants immediately, but it’s an indication that the plants aren’t happy with the growing conditions. In Western Washington whole beds of Tomatoes and Potatoes died almost overnight. The only thing you can do in these circumstances is dig the tubers 2 weeks after the tops die down and use them. This disease affects yield, but doesn’t affect storability (don’t replant these of course). If growing conditions are always favorable to this disease then its best to use resistant varieties. The following varieties are considered blight resistant, though strains of the disease vary in their virulence and even resistant varieties may not be immune.

Resistant potato varieties include Defender, Cara, Sante, Cosmos, Romano and Jacqueline Lee.

Resistant tomato varieties include: Stupice, Legend, Juliet and Matt’s Wild Cherry. Newer varieties specifically bred for resistance include Ferline’ F1 hybrid and ‘Fantasio’ F1 hybrid.

To minimize the effects of this disease, make sure the plants have good drainage and air circulation (staking and pruning can help with tomatoes). It is important that leaves don’t stay wet for long periods, so ideally you should use drip irrigation. If you must use sprinklers, water in the morning or early evening, so the leaves can dry out before nightfall. The spores only overwinter in living plants, so remove any volunteers and solanum weeds. Spores will also overwinter in infected seed potatoes, so you should only plant certified disease-free seed potatoes.

Image: Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org

Purple Beauty SweetPepper

Peppers (Capsicum annuum) are long-season, heat-loving annuals in the Solanaceae family which includes eggplants, tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes and ground cherries.

  • Bells- Oblong lobed fruit that is sweet and red or yellow when ripe, also eaten in the immature green stage.
  • Specialty – Long tapering fruits are especially flavorful and sweet, often used as frying peppers but also excellent for fresh eating.
  • Hot – Small spicy fruits often have thin walls that make for easy drying. Hot peppers can be used fresh or dried and ground.

Soil Nutrients and Requirements

Peppers prefer light, well drained, moderately fertile soil with pH 6.5-6.8. Use a high phosphorus starter fertilizer when transplanting to give young peppers a good start. Keep nitrogen levels in moderation, as high amounts can reduce yields.

Seeding Depth

1/4”

Plant Spacing

12-18”

Row Spacing

18-36″ or double rows 18” apart on 5-6’ centers.

When to Sow

Start transplants 6-8 weeks before planting date. Sow seeds into flat ~4 seeds/inch and then pot up into 2” or larger cells after first set of true leaves appear. Optimal soil temperature for germination is 85°F. For growing transplants, maintain temperature at around 75°F during the day and 65°F at night. Harden off plants by slightly reducing temperature to 60-65°F and reducing water for 2-3 days before transplanting.

Harvest

Harvest first peppers promptly to stimulate further fruit production. Peppers can be harvested and eaten at either unripe (green) or ripe (colored) stage. Colored peppers generally require 2 – 4 weeks longer

Storage

Store peppers at 50° – 54°F and 95% percent relative humidity. Chilling injury occurs at temperatures below 45°F.

Pest Info

  • If plants are flowering but fail to set fruit, the culprit (at least in northern regions) is likely to be the tarnished plant bug, which particularly appreciates the sap of eggplant and pepper flowers. Consider planting under row covers, or where this is impractical, a spray containing several deterrents, such as Beauveria bassiana (such as Naturalis™, see Supplies), pyrethrin, neem oil, and/or an insecticidal soap (such as Safer Brand™) may be effective

Disease Info

  • Peppers are commonly subject to bacterial spot (Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria) manifesting as leaf lesions that turn dark brown to black with a central tan area. Affected leaves eventually drop off. Fruit spots are brown to black with a warty appearance. The disease persists on plant residue and seed, so practice strict sanitation and purchase only disease-free seed. Copper fungicides can be moderately effective, but for isolated outbreaks, it is best to pull up infected plants immediately and destroy.
  • The several viruses that affect peppers can be difficult to distinguish from one another but should all be treated similarly: pull up infected plants immediately to prevent spread.
  • In soils containing the verticillium wilt fungi (Verticillium alboatrum and Verticillium dahliae), practice long crop rotations to reduce severity of the disease.

Purple Beauty Pepper: A Royal Bell

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Beautifully colored and sweet…

Scoville heat units (SHU): 0
Jalapeño reference point: 2,000 to 8,500 times milder
Origin: South America
Seeds: Purple Beauty pepper on Amazon

There’s more to bell peppers than greens, oranges, yellows, and reds. Meet the Purple Beauty pepper – a bell pepper that ranges from royal purple to nearly black and packs in extra sweetness. Its looks make the Purple Beauty a lovely and unique sweet pepper for summer gardening. Served raw in salads they maintain their purple color, but cooking these peppers magically turns their color to a vibrant green.

So there’s no heat – how sweet is the Purple Beauty pepper?

Yes, the Purple Beauty is a bell pepper variety, so there’s zero spiciness to this pepper, placing it 2,500 to 8,000 times milder than our jalapeño reference point. Like other sweet peppers, the Purple Beauty instead packs extra sweetness. It’s not quite as sweet as a gypsy pepper, but certainly sweeter than your typical green bell pepper.

What do Purple Beauty peppers look like?

This is where this pepper stands out. Purple Beauties are shaped much like a typical bell pepper: wide shoulders, thick walls, and a lot of cavity space due to the pepper being nearly as tall as it is wide (typically three inches in each direction). They mature from green, to royal purple, to nearly black, and finally to red. The purple phase is when Purple Beauty peppers are typically picked and eaten raw, providing a unique color alternative to salads, sides, sandwiches, and salsas.

But there’s a kitchen catch: When you cook the Purple Beauty during its purple phase, they actually lose their purple hue – reverting back to a vibrant green upon cooking. In fact any purple peppers, whether a purple bell variety or a purple jalapeño have the same culinary quirk. If you pick Purple Beauties when fully mature (red), they’ll maintain their red color – it’s only at the purple phase that the color change occurs. It’s why Purple Beauties are typically used raw to maintain the unique color for plate aesthetics.

How can you use Purple Beauties?

If you want to maintain the beautiful purple hue, raw uses are your only choice. They add beautiful color depth to salads, salas, sides, and sandwiches. Though Purple Beauties can also be used anywhere (and anytime) you’d use a bell pepper in cooking. It’s a terrific stuffing pepper, and with the extra sweetness it works very well with savory flavors. Try them also roasted or grilled. Grilled, in fact, provides a nice smoky flavor that pairs well with the sweetness here.

Where can you buy Purple Beauty peppers?

They aren’t common in supermarkets, where the green bell is king. But farmer’s markets and specialty stores often carry these beautiful purple bell peppers. If you’re a gardener, you can pick up Purple Beauty seeds at many gardening centers or simply purchase them online where they are widely available.

Purple Beauties are obviously not the most common sweet pepper around, but their looks certainly make them one of the most interesting to experiment with in the kitchen. They add that color splash that many cooks love with a delicious sweetness to boot. They can turn the everyday into something very special to behold.

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Summer Sunshine

“Late in the summer Lee came in off the street, carrying his big market basket.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

The best summer cooking revolves around as much glorious fresh sweet corn as possible. Piled high with summer vegetables our dinner salads have been graced with the addition of corn barely cooked in butter. A scoop of fragrant corn melts into the salad greens and no dressing is needed to compete with the blast of summer sunshine that adorns our dinner plates. There have been no complaints regarding my interpretation of salad for dinner. But if you must add dressing to your salad, a vinaigrette with a very light touch of vinegar leaves the sweet corn plenty of room to shine.

I went to my favorite local farm stand, The Farm to stock up on summer produce. Just outside the city limits and only five minutes from our home The Farm is a must visit if you find yourself near Salinas. I went for freshly picked corn to make cornbread and changed my mind when I found these stunning purple bell peppers. They were freshly picked. The stems were still bright green and only shriveled near the cut site. Still flush with moisture their purple skin was glossy and bright. Instead of baking cornbread I stuffed these magnificent purple bells with as much corn as possible and can still say I made dinner. We’ll have salad another day.

Essentials

I almost filled the bells with all corn and just enough cheese to meld the corn together into a stuffing. I am still considering my options. Thoughts of a balanced dinner with whole grains that included a dazzling amount of corn prevailed. I paired faro with the fresh corn but any other cooked grain with a nutty flavor and texture could be substituted. Leftover grains, brown rice, quinoa or wheat berries would pair nicely with the corn and thyme.

The addition of fresh thyme is what delivers the sparkle in this meatless recipe. The thyme adds punch and sass and yet does not overwhelm the sweet corn. It’s what moves this recipe from satisfying to scrumptious. Fresh thyme is more delicate when compared to its spirited dried companion hiding in our spice cabinets. The long days of summer are not meant for the robust and compact demeanor of dried thyme. It’s vivid character is best savored in the fall and winter. Bursts of pungent dried thyme add snippets of summer to the food we enjoy in the shorter days of fall and winter.

Ingredients
1T unsalted butter or olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
2C fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears of corn)
4 bell peppers
1C cooked faro
1/3C ricotta cheese
1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4C minced green onion
1t fresh thyme
1/4t salt
1/8t ground pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease an oven proof dish or pan.
  2. Warm the butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté briefly. Add the corn and sauté just another minute, until almost warmed through and coated with butter. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium bowl add the cooked corn, faro, ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup of the grated Parmesan, green onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Fold together to throughly mix. Stuff the peppers and arrange them in the prepared pan. Add 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the pan. Place the cover on the pan or cover tightly with foil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the peppers are cooked and just begin to slump. Remove the pan from the oven and adjust the oven heat to broil. Remove the lid from the pan and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top of the peppers. Broil until the cheese melts and becomes golden brown.

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