Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homemade Food Coloring

Food coloring has always been a bit of a mystery to me. What ingredients really go into making food coloring? Surely Yellow No. 5 cannot be found growing in nature. To avoid the unknowns of store bought food coloring, The Encyclopedia of Country Living lists herbs and food products you can use to make your own colorings.

Black: barberry leaves
Blue: blueberries
Brown: nut hulls (walnuts are best), tea, coffee, rose hips, tobacco, hickory chips
Green: beet tops, sunflower seeds, birch leaves, Spanish onion skins (outer leaves only), elderberry leaves, spinach, cabbage, rhubarb leaves
Orange: orange juice
Pink: cherries, beat and sassafras roots
Purple: blackberries, cherries, huckleberries, cranberries, raspberries, grapes, purple cabbage
Red: red onion skins, bloodroot, fresh beet juice, madder root, and logwood
Yellow: the stem, leaves, and flowers of apple bark, barberry stems and roots, cinnamon, curry, ginger, the stems, leaves, and flowers of goldenrod, hickory bark, mustard, paprika, pear leaves, saffron, tangle wood stems, turmeric

If you lack the time, ingredients, or patience to create your own homemade food coloring and have a small selection of store bought food colorings at home, use this chart to create new colors with what you have on hand.

2 drops yellow, 1 drop green, and 1 drop red= blue
1 drop red, 2 drops green, and 1 drop blue= gray
2 drops blue, 1 drop green= dark green
3 drops yellow, 1 drop blue= light green
12 drops yellow, 1 drop green= olive
2 drops red, 1 drop blue= orchid
3 drops red, 1 drop yellow= orange
3 drops red, 4 drops yellow, and 1 drop green= tangerine 

1 comment:

Rebecca of Die, Food Dye! said...

Great list! Traditional store bought food colorings are made from petroleum and added preservatives. Our family reacts to them in many ways, and they can cause learning, behavioral, and health problems for many people. I write about our struggles at www.DieFoodDye.com, collect guest blogger stories from other parents of dye-allergic kids, and interview the kids themselves. You can also buy ready made liquid all natural food coloring online or in health food stores, made by Chocolate Craft, India Tree, Seelect, Maggie's Naturals, and some ChefMaster (some ChefMaster and India Tree products include petrol dyes, but they have separate dye-free lines). I will be sure to share this post with my readers on my DFD Facebook page! :)

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