Whether we realize it or not, we tend to consume a lot of artificial food coloring. That is because most products we find at the supermarket and that normally appeal to us contain food coloring to make them look delicious and bright. Moreover, most people who bake at home also rely on artificial coloring as the most convenient option. But is it the healthiest? The answer is no, artificial food coloring is not healthy for you. You can live a healthier life if you switch to natural food coloring. Making your own food coloring at home might sound complicated, but it is actually quite easy. Today, we are going to talk about the benefits of natural food coloring and teach you how to make your own.
Why Should You Switch to Natural Food Coloring?
Because most coloring agents that we find in products we buy from the supermarket are petroleum-based. This means that they are produced through chemical processes. A lot of people are concerned that they spike allergic reactions, have carcinogenic properties, and lead to behavioral disorders such as ADHD. Around 8% of the 9.5% total of children in America who suffer from ADHD are likely to have this disorder because of artificial food coloring.
Food manufacturers tend to use a lot of Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Red 40 dyes, which are believed to be carcinogenic. The FDA already recognized the Red 3 dye as carcinogenic, yet some people still use it for food coloring. Allergies are another concern, since some people experience asthma attacks, watering eyes, and rashes from consuming this type of food coloring. Since these concerns are real, it is not hard to figure out why natural food coloring is the better option. If you want to know exactly what it is that you consume and how it was made, the solution is to make your own.
How to Make Food Coloring at Home
One of the most common natural food coloring options, and one of the easiest ones to make, red (or pink) can be achieved with beet juice. Beet juice is the most intense option, but you can also use cherry juice if you are willing to spend more money. All you have to do is juice a beet. In certain stores, you can also find stand-alone beet juice, but since beets are really not at all expensive, it makes sense to just make your own at home.
If you are worried that the food you are going to end up coloring with the beet juice will taste like beet, all you have to do is mix the juice with some apple juice. The amount of apple juice you add really depends on your preference. You can simply taste the mix and see if you like it. If you want to achieve a nice pink color, you will need more apple juice.
After reading how easy it is to make green natural food coloring, you will never want to buy green food dyes at the store. Really all you have to do is juice some spinach or kale leaves and you’re good to go. Normally, you shouldn’t be able to taste the kale or spinach in the food that you’re going to prepare. However, if you want to make sure this doesn’t happen, we have the same suggestion as for the red food coloring. Add some apple juice until you get the desired taste. What happens if you want to create yellow-green food coloring? Just add some drops of the yellow food coloring we’re going to talk about next.
If you want to make your natural food coloring look bright yellow, all you need is some fresh turmeric that you can find at the supermarket. Juice it and mix it with apple juice. Unlike the other ingredients we’ve already mentioned, this one does have a strong and noticeable taste, so you wouldn’t want to forget about the apple juice. Moreover, try to use a 3 to 1 ratio: 3 cups of apple juice to only 1 cup of turmeric juice.
Sometimes, you might not find fresh turmeric. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you can’t make yellow food coloring. You can simply buy turmeric powder. The color might not be as vibrant, but it makes for a really nice replacement. We should also mention that turmeric is really great for you, since it has anti-inflammatory effects. You can mix it with other ingredients such as apple, ginger, or beet to get a really healthy and delicious juice.
You might find making blue food coloring harder than any other color, but the end result is definitely worth it. You will need purple cabbage leaves that you have to cut up into pieces and place in a water container. Allow the water to boil and then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Once you remove the cabbage leaves, you are left with deep purple water.
After the water cools down completely, add a little bit of baking soda and stir until it dissolves completely. The color will turn from purple to blue immediately, and then you can adjust the shades of blue that you get according to your preference. However, be careful not to add too much baking soda, since your food is going to taste like it later on.
You’ve probably already guessed it, but the process of making purple natural food coloring is extremely similar to the one of making blue food coloring. In fact, all you have to do to get purple is to stop after you boil the cabbage leaves and let them simmer. The water is already an intense shade of purple. However, if you want to achieve a lighter shade, you can always go back to the apple juice technique and add as much as you want. Do that especially if you are afraid of your food having a cooked cabbage smell, which can happen in some cases.
For the orange food coloring, you literally only need some carrot juice. For even healthier results, we advise you to use organic carrots. After you’ve juiced the desired amount, it is up to you to experiment with the shades by adding apple juice (or not). The juice that comes out of the carrot is a gorgeous orange shade as it is. Another option would be to use carrot powder, but since you normally find fresh carrots at the supermarket, this seems like an unnecessary extra step.
Summing Everything Up
Whether or not you’ve experienced any side effects after consuming artificial food coloring, you should still remember that it is not healthy for you under any circumstances. Especially since you can make natural food coloring at home without too much of an effort, it seems pointless to buy artificial coloring at the supermarket. Possibly one of the greatest things about natural food coloring is the fact that you can experiment with all sorts of shades. By adding apple juice to almost any color, you get a lighter shade and the possibility of decorating your food with unique colors that you wouldn’t normally find at the store.