Beautifully colored and sweet…
Scoville heat units (SHU): 0
Jalapeño reference point: 2,000 to 8,500 times milder
Origin: South America
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.