Brought to you by the colour purple!

Today’s photos were taken simply because I was inspired by how pretty the purple beans looked when I was at Rowe Farms the other day. Also, since I have been blogging and taking (more) photos, I am really inspired to learn how to take GREAT pictures. To be honest, most of my pictures are taken on the fly, quickly with little thought to composition, lighting, shadows etc… and using an automatic setting (even though my camera has manual settings… hmmm…).

The other night as I was preparing dinner (in the badly-lit kitchen), I played with some of the manual settings and took these pictures:

Unfortunately, when they were cooked, they turned regular green (and not even bright green, at that…) as you see here (they’re the fat beans, not the thin French green beans):

and up close:

So why DO they turn green when they are cooked?

The MadSci website states that:

“purple beans are purple due to a pigment known as anthocyanins, responsible for that purple, reddish range of colors. When cooking, a chemical change did take place. What happened was the heat from the cooking broke apart the molecules on the surface of the bean and exposed the chlorophyll which is green.

Nature plays similar tricks with leaves. As the weather changes due to cooler nights and shorter days, the sugars stop providing nutrients to their leaves and the different pigments that lay under the green show up. Such pigments as the anthocyanins that you noted in your purple beans.

Hope that helps. Books that explain such chemical processes are: The Cookbook Decoder by Arthur Grosser; On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.

Well there you go. Disappointing in terms of presentation but still delicious to eat.

5 Responses to Brought to you by the colour purple!

  1. Kelly August 21, 2009 at 17:37 #

    Cool purple beans!! I love green beans and my fav color is purple. 🙂

  2. traveleatlove August 22, 2009 at 00:33 #

    I've never seen beans like that, neat!

  3. ann August 22, 2009 at 16:17 #

    I think they look better when they're green!

  4. eatlivetravelwrite August 22, 2009 at 16:19 #

    Oh no Ann, they were SOOOOO pretty when they were purple… (that's why I bought them!). The green was kinda dull and boring actually…

  5. Neil C. Phillips August 24, 2009 at 14:28 #

    However…I must say I was not impressed with the purple beans. Part of the challenge, I think, is that they needed longer to cook than the French green beans — so we ended up with slightly too mushy green beans, and wooly purple beans.

    But that's being picky…

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