Featured Garden Sense

Is Your Garden Color Blind? #GardenSense

three beans

Yes those are purple “green” beans. Yellow wax beans and traditional green beans. I’m also growing yellow and pink tomatoes. Have you ever had yellow watermelon? How about red, yellow, orange or purple bell peppers? Those are much more common.
What’s my point, you ask?
We eat with our eyes. Color sets the mood on our plate.
Vegetables give us a wonderful palette of colors to liven up our summer meals.
When you add these kinds of color choices to salads you make the meal pop! But what about the taste?
Red, yellow and orange bell peppers are sweeter than their green cousins. Most varieties of green bell peppers will take on a red hue and softer texture if allowed to fully ripen.
You can also find purple and green cauliflower.
When these vegetables are eaten raw they retain their bright colors. But what happens when they are cooked?
Purple peppers and beans will turn green. Just like the gorgeous colors of autumn leaves are masked by chlorophyll, the green is already there in the purple vegetables. The purple color comes from chemicals called anthocyanins. Cooking releases these acids and exposes their green shades.
Carotenoids on the other hand give carrots and beets their colors. These naturally occurring chemicals don’t react the same way to heat. The color will lessen but not disappear when cooked.
Here are more colors to look for in the vegetable section, farmer’s market, roadside stand or your own garden! Try some of these different colors in your next salad. Let me know what you think of the taste.

  • white eggplant
  • purple or white broccoli
  • watermelon radishes (pink and green)
  • yellow or white beets
  • purple fingerling potatoes
  • blue corn
  • red celery
  • white carrots

What are your thoughts on these odd colors for your veggie favorites? Please let me know in a comment below. Happy gardening!

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Cindy's Recipes and Writings

As a professional cook, I love creating exciting new recipes on the job as well as at home. Assisting in teaching low-income families how to buy, store and prepare healthy food through Penn State’s alliance with Pennsylvania’s Supercupboard Program was very rewarding. During my 11 years with the Master Gardener program, I taught horticultural therapy to assisted living patients using healthful, fr
esh grown food as a focal point. . My hands-on programs and instruction helped hundreds of children and adults learn about where their food comes from and how important fresh food is for your body.
Currently I’m a cook at a college in Pennsylvania. We prepare everything we can from scratch, including our potato chips that tout the seasoning of the day!
Of course I write about food; it's in my blood!

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve had purple asparagus and purple baby artichokes. I have to say that I really like the green version better!

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