Food & Nutrition

Purple Bell Pepper, Nutrition Benefits, Calories When To Harvest

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Purple bell pepper derives its name from its color(purple). The striking purple color is as a result of a pigment called anthocyanin.  These peppers, just like their cousins (red, Green yellow and orange bell peppers) belong to the nightshade family of plants. However, purple peppers are not as common as the green, red and yellow peppers. In this article learn more about;

  • Purple bell pepper Nutrition and Befits
  • Calories and carbs in purple bell pepper
  • When to harvest or pick purple bell pepper

Purple Bell Pepper Nutrition and Benefits

Purple bell peppers are nutrient-dense. They’re one of the richest food sources of vitamins A and C, as just a cup a day can provide more than 100% of your daily needs. Purple bell pepper contains an impressive list of plant nutrients that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties including:

Capsaicin:

Purple bell pepper contains small levels of an alkaloid compound named capsaicin, as its scientific name capsicum suggests. Early laboratory studies suggest that capsaicin has anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, pain-relieving and anti-diabetic properties. When used regularly, it also found to reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol levels in obese individuals.

Vitamin C:

Fresh purple bell peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, amazingly even higher than that found in citrus fruit, which is a strong antioxidant, required for collagen synthesis in the body. Collagen is required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones. Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the human body protect from bleeding gums, boosts immunity, and has great anti-inflammatory effects.

Vitamin A and Flavonoids:

Purple bell peppers also contains good levels ofvitamin A and flavonoids. Together, these antioxidant substances help protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals, which are cancer-causing toxic substances, generated during stress and disease conditions.

B-Complex vitamins:

Further, purple bell pepper has almost the whole range of the B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, folate, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential because the body does not manufacture them; we require them from external sources to replenish. B-complex vitamins facilitate proper cell function, through various metabolic processes.

Essential minerals:

Purple bell peppers have adequate levels of essential minerals including iron, copper, zinc, potassium, manganese, molybdenum, magnesium and selenium, which are used by the body as co-factors for enzymes necessary for healthy metabolism, and are also anti-oxidant substances. Read more on Purple Bell Pepper Health Benefits

Calories and Fat in Purple Bell Pepper

Unlike other chili peppers, it is very low in calories and fats. For all you weight-watchers, and those striving to maintain a healthy weight, this is one food you cannot miss in your pantry!

Fat Content:

The actual nutrient-dense content of purple bell peppers is quite impressive and surprising, given the very low-fat nature of this vegetable. Some nutrients like vitamins A, E and K are fat-soluble and therefore require fat for them to be present in the food, yet there is far less than 1 gram of total fat in one cup of sliced bell pepper!

Calorie content:

Did you know that one cup of chopped purple bell peppers contains just between 30 to 40 calories? Bell peppers offer a low-calorie option for a sweet flavor and satisfying crunch, which makes them a good substitute for high-calorie chips in dips such as guacamole or salsa.

Sautéed bell peppers make a healthy accompaniment to chicken and steak. You can also add purple bell peppers to salads or casseroles to boost serving sizes without adding notable calories.

All these tips aid in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and getting your foods jam-packed with healthy nutrients while satisfying those cravings, and without packing on excess calories.

Purple Bell Pepper When to Harvest or Pick

Purple bell peppers resemble traditional green or red varieties except for their striking purple hue. They require the same care and growing conditions as other peppers, but harvesting them at the right time ensures they retain their attractive purple color and unique flavor. Consider the following:

Harvest color and sweetness:

  • Purple bell peppers, like all other bell peppers, start out green. As they mature, the skin will slowly turn purple. When the entire pepper is purple except the stem, your pepper will be at its sweetest flavor and should be picked within a couple days. You can also pick your peppers when they are green.
  • If left to ripen, they may also turn red, yellow, orange or even brown. The less green color you see, the sweeter the taste of the bell pepper. Once it begins to turn color, they progress quickly and once they turn their final color, they deteriorate very fast and should be picked.

Harvest size:

  • Purple bell peppers should be harvested when firm and full size, at least 3.5 to 4 inches. Once bell peppers reach this size, regardless of color, they can be picked. Leaving them on the plant longer won’t lead them to get much bigger, but they will get sweeter.
  • The purple color on most purple bell pepper varieties is not the mature color. Like most other bell peppers, purple peppers go through several colors before achieving a mature red or orange hue. Some varieties may develop a darker purplish-black color as they approach full maturity.
  • The purple phase is generally the first and the youngest level of maturity that is suitable to harvest the peppers. Generally, bell peppers become sweeter the more they approach the red-mature stage, but the purple immature fruit usually has good flavor and provides interesting color to cooked dishes.
  • Although purple peppers are edible at any stage of growth, harvesting once they develop their full size for the specific variety and develop an even purple color ensures the best quality. To retain the purple color, they are harvested before they begin to show any red, orange or yellow spots, which usually develop first near the stem end of the fruit.
  • Once a purple pepper begins to develop its mature red color, it quickly changes and loses most of the purple color that makes it stand out. If the stems of the peppers begin to turn black, the fruit is about to drop from the plant. This shows the pepper has stopped growing and adding flavor and should be picked before it rots.

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