Do different colors of the same vegetable taste different? Round up some family and friends and find out in this colorful taste test!
Start by making a prediction: Do you think green and red bell peppers taste the same or different? Why do you think so?
Choose 1 person to give out the peppers (this is a good job for an adult). Everyone else will be tasters. Give each taster a plate, a glass of water, and a blindfold.
Blindfolded tasters should pick up 1 strip of pepper at a time and taste it, taking small bites and chewing slowly—but they should keep their opinions about flavors to themselves for now! They can also take sips of water between bites to give their tastebuds a break.
Once everyone has finished tasting both colors of pepper, ask tasters:
(Don’t read until you’ve finished the experiment!)
You might want to sit down for this: Red bell peppers are actually just grown-up green bell peppers. As they grow on the plant, all peppers start out green. Then, as they ripen, bell peppers first change from green to either yellow or orange, and then most of them change to red—kind of like a pepper traffic light! Green bell peppers are simply harvested before they are fully ripe.
Now let’s talk flavor: Green and red bell peppers taste similar, but you might have noticed some flavor differences between them. When we tasted the peppers in our Young Chefs’ Club lab, tasters said the red bell peppers tasted sweeter and fruitier than green bell peppers. The flavor of green bell peppers is often described as “grassy.” These observations make sense: As peppers ripen, they create different flavor compounds, which make ripe red peppers taste different from unripe green ones.
Ready for another shock? Peppers are technically fruits, not vegetables, because they contain the seeds of the pepper plant. We call them vegetables because we eat them in savory dishes.
Once you’ve done this taste test with bell peppers (or if you’re not a pepper fan), try it with other vegetables that come in different colors. Here are a few colorful suggestions: