DIY Natural Food Coloring

|DIY Natural Food Coloring|

My life is basically categorized by two segments; pre-healthy and now.

My pre-healthy life included a lot of fun things, artificially neon fun things. I especially loved Pinterest’s (do you follow me on Pinterest??? If not you should!) trendy food and all of the different things you could do with different icings and food coloring.

please note there may be affiliate links, when you decide to purchase anything through these links I get a small commissions at NO extra cost to you, it helps me to keep running this blog

Now that I have researched the side effects and what is in artificial food coloring I no longer use it. But every now and then the creative side of me wants to add a bit of color to our food.  And my 3 year old is in this new phase where she really loves anything pink (is it some natural born instinct??) so I thought I’d develop some health

friendly, natural food coloring alternatives.

Some of you may be wondering why we stay away from food dyes as much as possible. Other than the fact that we can’t produce them in our own home garden, what keeps us away are the gross ingredients.

Here is the list of ingredients found in a popular brand of food coloring:

FULL INGREDIENTS

WATER, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, FD&C YELLOW 5, FD&C RED 40, FD&C BLUE 1, FD&C RED 3, AND 0.1% PROPYLPARABEN (PRESERVATIVE). (source)

So the first thing I wondered is what is propylene glycol?

Propylene Glycol is an artificial liquid that absorbs water.  It is used to make polyester compounds and as a deicing agent (antifreeze). It is a clear, odorless, tasteless substance that the FDA has “generally recognized as safe” for use in food. (source)

Generally speaking it is relatively harmless BUT if exposure exceeds the recommended amount or a person has a compromised immune system it can cause unpleasant side effects and long term health problems. (source)

What about FD&C Yellow 5?

FD&C Yellow 5 is commonly known as Tartrazine. It is often used in food and medicine to give a yellow color.  This additive has been reported to cause hives, angioedema, asthma, eczema, and hyperactive behavior. (source)

FD&C Red 40?

Red 40 is a color that comes from petroleum distillates.  To be totally honest, as I was researching this one I found that there isn’t a lot of really good information easily available.  Which makes me also wonder why…

FD&C Blue 1 and FD&C Red 3 seem to be the least concerning of these ingredients. Or at least I wasn’t able to find much of anything about them…

But I did find this handy chart from here!

So anyway, because of the fact that artificial dyes are, well artificial, we try to avoid them as much as possible.

As I like to say, if God put it here and it’s edible without much alteration of it then we will eat it 🙂 if it requires a lab and crazy processing to make it edible we avoid it.

But what’s a mama to do when she feels the creativity bug itching and she wants pink frosting???

Make natural food coloring of course!

This food coloring is super easy to make once you acquire all the ingredients and is great for tinting frosting, or anything unbaked.  Unfortunately if you bake with these colors they tend to be colorfast, meaning they disappear once baked.  The red and yellow seem to bake fine, they do however get lighter.  So if you want to try baking with them just be sure to make the unbaked product extra vibrantly colored!

The ingredients are plant based and non-toxic starting with non-gmo vegetable glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is a clear, odorless, sweet liquid that is used both for cosmetics and food applications.  It is water soluble which makes it easy to mix into just about anything.

After the vegetable glycerin comes the fun colors! I used beet powder, turmeric, blueberry powder, and spirulina.

I don’t know that there is enough of these vegetables to consider this healthy or to even think of the health benefits of each of these vegetables but let’s go there anyway 😉

Beets-

  • contain cancer protective antioxidants (interestingly the highest amount of free radical damage-fighting antioxidants are found in the greens)
  • support heart health
  • helps to detox and remove heavy metals, toxins and waste from the blood (source)

Turmeric-

  • is anti-inflammatory
  • contains antioxidants AND stimulates the body to create even more antioxidants
  • may help fight depression (source)

Blueberries-

  • high in Vitamin C
  • may protect against heart disease (source)

Spirulina-

  •  promotes healthy bacterial flora in the intestines
  • detoxes heavy metals from the body (source)

With all those benefits, why not use these vegetables in an all natural food coloring?! I don’t know if the amount that this recipe calls for will cure what ails you but it’s better than the artificial stuff that causes what ails you! <ya dig??

I like to store this food coloring in these nifty bottles because they have a little dropper.

Anyway, here’s the recipes…

Red Food Coloring

Ingredients:

3 tbsp Vegetable Glycerin

1 tbsp Beet Powder

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients well. Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Yellow Food Coloring

Ingredients:

3 tbsp vegetable glycerin

1 tbsp Turmeric

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients well.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Blue Food Coloring

Ingredients:

3 tbsp vegetable glycerin

1 tbsp Blueberry Powder

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients well.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

Green Food Coloring

Ingredients:

3 tbsp vegetable glycerin

1 tbsp Spirulina

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients well.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge!

What better use is there for natural food coloring than icing for gluten free sugar cookies??

No better use. That is the correct answer.

 

 

DIY Natural Food Coloring

Plant based, non-toxic food coloring that is easy to whip up right in your home kitchen!

Ingredients

Red Food Coloring

  • 3 tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp beet powder
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Yellow Food Coloring

  • 3 tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Green Food Coloring

  • 3 tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp spirulina
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Blue Food Coloring

  • 3 tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp blueberry powder
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients well.

  2. Store in airtight container in the fridge! 

  3. Use as you would any other food coloring.

Do you have a 3 year old that loves pink?? Have you ever made pink food (or any other color)? How did you do it? Drop a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

You may also like