Purple Vegetables: More Than Just a Nice Color

Lots of vegetables are either naturally purple or come in purple versions. While that adds a colorful contrast to the more common green of a typical vegetable garden, the color purple is more than a pretty face.

The same factor that gives plants purple coloring – pigments are known as “anthocyanins” – also serves as an antioxidant when eaten. Dieticians often advise eating antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables for nutritional value and possible health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, fighting cancer, and aiding brain health.

Purple Cabbage

George Weigel

Try these five easy-to-grow purple veggies in your garden this year:

  • Carrots. Some have purple skins, others are purple throughout. Look for 'Purple Haze,'  'Purplesnax,' 'Purple Dragon,' 'Purple Sun,' 'Deep Purple,' 'Purple 68,' and 'Black Nebula.'


  • Kale. This frost-tough leafy crop is a nutritional powerhouse even in its green form, but 'Redbor' matures from burgundy to deep purple in fall. 'Scarlet' and 'Darkibor' are two other good dark-leafed ones, and 'Red Russian' and 'Delaway' have red stems.


  • Cabbage. Both heirlooms and newer hybrids produce tight balls of rosy-purple leaves, including 'Red Express,' 'Ruby Perfection,' 'Primero,' 'Ruby Ball,' 'Omero,' and 'Mammoth Red Rock.'


  • Broccoli. Varieties are available that produce both loose sprouts and larger heads with buds and stems of lavender or purple, including 'Purple Crown,' 'Summer Purple,' '‘Purple Peacock’ and 'Miranda.'


  • Cauliflower. 'Purple of Sicily' is an heirloom light-purple cauliflower, while 'Graffiti' and 'Depurple' are two newer introductions that produce rich purple heads.


Purple Cauliflower

George Weigel

Purple Kale

George Weigel

Keep weeds away from those and other up-and-growing vegetables by scattering the soil with Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer, made out of 100% corn gluten.

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