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Brit researchers create 'Shiraz' pea - world's first purple peas

August 19, 2011 - London

British researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind purple mange-tout pea.

They have taken over a decade to develop the unique 'Shiraz' pea, painstakingly perfecting the exact deep burgundy shade and pod size.

Remarkably the deep purple shells - a shade resembling the dark-skinned Shiraz grape grown primarily for producing powerful red wines - contain regular-looking green peas inside and can be eaten like any ordinary mange-tout.

They have gone on sale for the first time and seeds are being sold by the Suffolk-based Thompson and Morgan seed and plant store, where the specimen was created.

"It's taken about 11 years of back crossing and re-selection to reach the perfect colour and pod uniformity, but now it's finally ready," the Daily Mail quoted Colin Randel, a vegetable product manager at Thompson and Morgan, as saying.

"There have been other purple vegetables produced, but this is a world exclusive, no one else has developed a mange tout pea like this before," he stated.

The Shiraz pea plant - which can grow up to 3.5ft tall - has been created through a complex and top secret breeding process and contains no artificial colours.

Instead, the colourful pea pods are naturally rich in anthocyanin, an antioxidant pigment, which gives them a striking purple colour.

It is hoped the snap pea will be a hit with colour-conscious gardeners who can add this variety to their collection of other popular purple picks such as cauliflowers, broccoli, carrots and potatoes.


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