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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Green Bell Peppers Turn Colors When Mature

Q. Some of my California Wonder bell peppers are turning half black instead of red. Otherwise, they seem fine. It seems it happens the most when it cools down. Are the safe to eat?
Mini red bell peppers
Yum Yum Gold Peppers
A. There is a huge assortment in bell peppers. Years ago they all stayed green and when they ripened, they became partially red. People liked them. The market grew for red bell peppers.

Then breeders bred for the development of a solid, red color. Now we have beautiful red peppers that are held on the plant a little longer to get that red color to develop. The same was true of yellow, orange and even purple peppers.

But nearly all of the bell peppers start off green. Producers harvest them when they are large but immature so they stay green. If producers spend a little bit money for seed, get hybrids that turn a beautiful solid color and leave them on the plant long enough, they will get more money for them. And you get charged more at the store.

 We harvest peppers before they are mature if we want them green. However, if we get a cold snap this may cause them to develop their mature color sooner. In your case, I am guessing you have a pepper that turns dark purple when it is mature.

The clue was it was half black instead of red. Your pepper is just fine to eat and it actually might be a little sweeter because of the cool weather. By the way, that purple color is probably anthocyanin, a rich antioxidant.

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