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Murasaki Purple Peppers
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Murasaki Purple chile peppers are elongated, straight to slightly curved pods, averaging 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical shape tapering to a rounded point on the non-stem end. The skin is glossy, waxy, and smooth, ripening from green to dark purple, almost black, and the pods are connected to a thick, purple-green stem. Underneath the skin, the flesh is crisp, green, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with many small, round and flat, cream-colored seeds. Murasaki Purple chile peppers are crunchy with a mild and sweet, heatless flavor. In addition to the peppers, the Murasaki Purple chile plant is identified by its unique purple-hued stems, leaves, and flowers.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers are available in the summer through fall.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are uniquely colored, heatless pods that belong to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Murasaki Togarashi in Japan, Murasaki Purple chile peppers are an ancient variety native to Japan that is somewhat rare and is only found through specialty farms and home gardens. Murasaki Purple chile peppers are favored for their crisp, dense consistency and sweet flavor, and are predominately consumed fresh to showcase their unusual coloring.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers are an excellent source of anthocyanins, which are the pigments that give the pepper its dark purple hue and provide anti-inflammatory properties to help boost the immune system. The peppers also contain some vitamin C, fiber, and iron.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers are best suited for raw applications as the deep purple hues are showcased when used fresh, out-of-hand. The pepper can be sliced and tossed into green salads, chopped for salsa, or sliced and used as a garnish. In addition to fresh preparations, Murasaki Purple chile peppers can be lightly cooked, but the color will fade into a green hue in the process. In Japan, the peppers are boiled, stir-fried with other vegetables as a side dish, or fried into tempura. The sweet peppers can also be used as a pepper substitute in any recipes that call for a mild pepper. Murasaki Purple chile peppers pair well with broccoli, green beans, eggplant, cucumber, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, cashews, meats such as poultry, beef, pork, duck, and fish, seafood, and rice. The peppers will keep up to one week when stored unwashed and whole in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers are a favorite home garden plant as their dark hues are highly ornamental and provide contrast in a predominately green space. The plants also produce high yields and are resistant to many diseases, providing peppers with hardy qualities and an easy-to-grow nature. In Japan, Murasaki Purple chile peppers are often a part of yamato yasai, which are traditional vegetables grown organically under strict standards.
Murasaki Purple chile peppers are native to Nara, Japan, and are descendants of peppers originally from Central and South America. The original pepper varieties were introduced to Japan through Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries, and since their introduction, the peppers have been cultivated and selectively bred to create new varieties such as the Murasaki Purple chile pepper. Today Murasaki Purple chile peppers are still considered rare and are primarily cultivated through specialty farms in Japan. The peppers are also found through select online seed catalogs for home garden use around the world.