Natural Food Dye

By : | 11 Comments | On : December 5, 2012 | Category : Allergies, Foods, Kids Cooking, Nutrition

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I am sure you have all seen those gorgeous rainbow cakes doing the rounds on Pinterest? Pretty, yes! But it did have me wondering just how much artificial food dye was used to make the colours in those towering beasts. Food colouring is most commonly used to add a bit of somethin’ somethin’ to kids foods. The problem is that food colouring is not necessarily good for them (some would even say it’s very bad for them).

To purchace natural food dye can be expensive when you only need a drop. So why not make your own? I have mixed my colours with a basic white icing sugar to show the results clearly, but you can use natural dyes for all your cooking and baking. It was actually a lot of fun, Harry helped – you should see his Spinach-Green Play-dough.

How to do it? 

Unfortunately I can’t give you exact quantities because it depends on what you are cooking, so you may have to experiment a little yourself.

There are two ways of extracting the colour.

  • You can boil the food and use the cooking liquid.
  • You can juice the food. If you have a juicer – great, if not just cook (if required) and puree, then push the pulp through a sieve. Add a tablespoon of water if needed.

I found juicing the food produced a more vibrant result.

Best Colour Matches 

Here are the colours that worked for both colour and flavour. You can always add a drop of pure vanilla extract to mask any subtle flavours.

Red – Raspberries

Thaw frozen raspberries and puree until smooth. Push pulp through a sieve to extract juice.

Pink – Beetroot

Juice or puree the cooked beetroot or use the juice from quality canned beetroots.

Orange – Carrots

Juice raw carrots in a juicer, or puree adding 1 tbsp water, and push pulp through a sieve to extract juice.

Yellow – Orange

Juice orange using a juicer. Or push pulp through a sieve to extract juice.

Green – Spinach

Juice spinach leaves in a juicer, or puree adding 1 tbsp water, and push pulp through a sieve to extract juice.

Blue – Blueberries 

Thaw frozen blueberries and puree until smooth. Push pulp through a sieve to extract juice. OR, microwave berries until the skin bursts, then pour the juice through a sieve.

Purple – Blackberries 

Puree blackberries until smooth. Push pulp through a sieve to extract juice. OR, microwave berries until the skin bursts, then pour the juice through a sieve.

Do you have any other ideas? Please let us know if you have tried other colours and flavours so we can share them with everyone.

Other Tips 

  • When making your own food dye you may need to use more dye than the recipe requires (usually double).
  • You may need to reduce the amount of liquid in your recipe to compensate or add a little more dry ingredients.
  • Remember a white base is always best, if you are making icing for example opt for a white based recipe rather than a yellow buttery one.

Nutrition Note: Our natural food dyes are 100% natural.  You can feel good knowing there are no artificial flavours, no artificial colours, no preservatives and no additives and you can feel even better knowing you are adding in some wonderfully healthy vitamins and minerals from the fruit and vegetable juices. How good is that!

 Note: remember the four day rule when introducing new foods to your baby. 

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  1. posted by Rachel on December 5, 2012

    Wish i had seen this post earlier this week… i’ve just made a rainbow cake for my daughter’s birthday this weekend! And yes, lots of food colouring. Eeeeeeeeeeek.

      Reply
    • posted by Allie on December 5, 2012

      Oh Rachel, I am sure it will look stunning :) Ax

        Reply
  2. posted by vicki on December 9, 2012

    My GD is allergic to all the FDC colorants so I’ve been buying the natural food coloring at the Whole Food store. And yipees it is expensive. Thanks for sharing this ( I allready knew some but soo appericate the rest)

      Reply
  3. posted by lld on March 3, 2013

    Use turmeric powder to get he best yellow! Only takes a tiny amount and it doesn’t affect the taste.

      Reply
  4. posted by Joan on January 25, 2014

    How long would these dyes last (in the fridge, I guess?)? Just curious if there is a smart way to perhaps freeze tiny portions to pull out when you want to color icing or play dough, etc?

      Reply
    • posted by Allie on January 29, 2014

      Hi Joan. I would say you can freeze in small portions but may lose a little of the colour. Perhaps you could freeze in small baby puree containers or ice cube containers then pop out and wrap/freeze again to prevent freezer burn? Ax

        Reply
  5. posted by Liz on January 25, 2014

    I tried to use beet root juice to make a pink cake and the colour cooked right out! Not sure what went wrong- the batter was a nice rosy pink and the cake was a normal buttercake colour. So always do a test run! :)

      Reply
  6. posted by Jess on January 25, 2014

    Can you taste the original foods that you get the dye from?
    My son isn’t a fan of beetroot but maybe if it still just tastes like cake I could persuade him?

      Reply
    • posted by Allie on January 29, 2014

      Hi Jess. It depends what you are using the dye for. I have used it for cake and icing and you cant taste the dye flavour. It is usually masked with all the lovely cake flavours or a drop of pure vanilla. Ax

        Reply
  7. posted by Brooke on January 25, 2014

    Do you think these cab be frozen like the hoppers ones?

      Reply

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