We are exploring the fascinating world of natural food colouring this morning. Used from the dawns of time this fascinating area of culinary alchemy fascinates me. Food coloring has always been the top priority for many of us that helped us in making the food more exciting and mouth-watering just from the look of it. Earlier, food coloring used to mean using four small vials of liquid coloring available then without any rich colors included in that. Later, there was a trend of paste food coloring which offered more colours than a rainbow, hence making it the ultimate choice to add vibrant colors to your food. With the introduction of paste food colors, delicacies like pastries and confections came in different varieties and colors. But have you ever wondered what are those vibrant colourings exactly made of ? These paste food colours are actually made from artificial compounds which no doubt are colourful but at the same time they are bad for our health. So, why use these artificial colourings when you can use fresh and natural ingredients that not only add colour but also provides flavour to your food.
Here’s the list of natural ingredients that can help you adding different colors and flavors to your food:
Turmeric, the long used Indian spices in cooking, has the natural ability to give a gorgeous shade of golden-yellow. If used well along with other things, you can be successful in cooking the most beautiful golden pastry of Jamaican sausage patties. Besides just adding the yellow/golden color, turmeric also imparts a unique flavor to the food. You can also use a turmeric that has gone stale with equal amount of water and it will still work as a coloring agent without affecting your food. Also, turmeric is one of those Indian spices with many health benefits as well, you can read more here.
If turmeric was for yellow, then you must have guessed it right for red: beets. Beets have a tendency to leave red stain on your hands while cutting or chopping it. And that’s enough to make out that beets is the natural ingredient to provide a nice red color to foods. Along with the reddishness, beets are also known to impart a sweet flavour to your food when added moderately. To make a natural food colouring agent, simply press the juice out of a bunch of beets. Later heat the juice in a saucepan at low flame such that the beet juice is reduced by half. Now remove from the stove and add a splash of white vinegar, and pour it through a sieve to get rid of all the solids. That’s it your natural food coloring agent is ready!
Pretty much like the beets, carrots are the best ingredients to turn your food orange. You can create an orange food colouring agent by using carrots in a similar fashion as we discussed with beets to make a red color agent. The orange colour wouldn’t be as rich but it’s still lovely in taste.
Spinach as we know the favorite food of Popeye is also a great green food coloring agent! Simply make a purée of one bag of fresh spinach using a blender, then place the mixture into a saucepan. Add four cups of water in the saucepan and cook at low flame for couple of hours. Once cooked, run the liquid down through a sieve to remove all the solids from it and ta-da, your green food coloring is ready!
Making a blue food colouring is quite difficult as there are not much naturally blue foods available out there. Still you can make a nice blue food coloring using a Red/Purple (whatever you call it) cabbage. Add some water and finely chopped red/purple cabbage in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a simmer at medium heat and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Later remove the solids out with the help of a sieve. To give it a blue colour, simply add a little baking soda to the liquid.
Red/Purple cabbage can be used to create a purple food colouring as well. Process this cabbage in the same way you did for blue colouring, but this time instead of baking soda, add a splash or two of vinegar to the coloured liquid. This will give you a purple colour instead of blue and hence making you a natural purple food colouring.
Homemade natural food colourings are the best when it comes to add flavors alongside giving colors to your food. As natural, fresh ingredients are used to make these food colorings, it makes the food healthy as well. You can also store these food colorings in your refrigerator to be used shortly to cook some cookies, pastries or pasta for your kids. But do remember that ingredients like beets for example have a tendency to fade over time, so don’t store them long enough.You can also use this homemade natural food colourings for their aroma and taste as well.
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