Organic, natural food coloring and dyes
Last week, chocolate giant Nestle announced its plans to scrap artificial food coloring in response to concerns that dyes affect children’s behavior. However, raw foods proponents have known for years that you don’t need to brew Orange Yellow S C.I. 15985 in a lab to add beautiful colors to your sweets. Read to find easy-to-find and easy-to-make all-natural organic alternatives to iffy artificial food colorings.
To add a green hue to your creations, choose liquid chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a pigment that plants naturally generate to absorb energy from light. Health food stores sell liquid chlorophyll derived from from parsley, alfalfa, or nettles. In Raw Fusion Living, Dr. LJ writes: “Liquid chlorophyll is shown to increase oxygenation of your red blood cells, improve digestive and intestinal health, reduce fatigue” and more. Another (unexpected, unless you’re a green smoothie fan) way to green your food is a bit of blended spinach–just don’t let the kids see, and they’ll never know!
Beet juice imparts a nice red color, and it comes packed full of nutrients like folate and manganese. You can make beet juice by running washed, peeled, and chopped beets through a juicer; dilute with water as needed. If you don’t mind adding a fruity flavor to your dish, add blended red fruits, such as raspberries or pomegranates.
Tumeric is a ginger plant, the powder of which is a key ingredient in many Asian dishes. Tumeric powder lends a yellow color to your creations and is readily available at many health food stores. You can also create your own tumeric powder by cutting and drying tumeric plants, powdering once completely dry. Tumeric may have antifungal and antibacterial properties, and is currently being evaluated to treat of a variety of diseases.
Crushed blueberries not only bring on the blue but also manganese, vitamin C, vitamin K and dietary fiber. A lesser known technique to create natural blue dye involves red cabbage: after cutting and boiling red cabbage, slowly stir in small amounts of baking powder to turn the purple water blue.
Red cabbage is a surprising favorite for adding purple to foods–and it contains loads of vitamin A and iron. Simply cut and boil a red cabbage; the water will turn purple, and then you can use it to color your creation. Another option is blended blackberries.
All colors are created from the three primary colors–red, yellow, and blue–so you can try mixing to create other colors. For example, red and blue make purple. For brown, you can try small amounts of cocoa.
What are your favorite natural food dyes?
What have you tried and how did it work? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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