Red, purple, saffron, yellow, green, blue, purple – these colors are so vibrant that notch up the enthusiasm of our life. Not just our life; colors make your food palate pleasing too. The lip smacking orange hue jalebis pull you towards it not just with its aroma but with its hue too. And, not to forget the hues of ice creams and frosted cupcakes and cookies.
In this hyper processed world, there is no dearth to synthetic food colors that we quite often use to enrich the visual appeal of our cooking skills. But, does the synthetic substitutes stack up the original version? There is a huge cry over living natural and going holistic these days. So, why not give the food colors a dose of originality?
So, why should you even put in efforts for preparing natural food dyes when you can easily pick one from your grocery store? From poor memory power to brain tumors, from allergies to bladder cancer, from menstrual irregularities to intra uterine fetal death, these additives can harm you in countless ways.
Just get started… it might take some time before you master the art of preparing food colors at home, but each and every moment you spend on it is worth! Can we now start the journey?
Turmeric powder is the ideal pick. A spice that is common in Indian households, it gives you a fabulous yellow hue and that too without imparting any additional flavor. Use a pinch while you beat the whipping for your pineapple cake and no one will ever believe that you added turmeric to it.
Kesari is a famous sweetmeat served in South India and it gets its names from the infusion of saffron [kesar] in it. The reality – we all use the color in the place to render the yellow hue. You can try a couple of strands of saffron. The dessert gets better – visually and taste-wise.
Both these natural yellow food colors are vegan friendly too.
Forget tangerines and oranges. Carrots are the best choices when it comes to delivering the pleasing peachy hue. Juice fresh carrots for the best results. Never opt for carrot juice that comes in tetra packs as they could hamper with the flavors of your dish.
- Red and Pink
Beets are the best choices when it comes to adding a deep pink hue to your food. Boil them and use the water or just juice the beets.
Impart an appealing red hue to your curry or gravy, without making it spicier, by mixing in powdered kashmiri chili.
Pomegranates and raspberries are also ideal when it comes to red hues. Just pulverize them in the blender, strain and use the liquid.
Spinach is the answer if you are searching for green. No jokes; it does not add any spinachy flavor at the same time, makes sure you are getting the beautiful green color. Wash the leaves and juice them. Strain and use the liquid.
- Purple and blue
Blackberries and blueberries are the ideal resources to render a purple or blue color. Just blend them and strain them using a cheesecloth to get the liquid dye for your foods.
There is a surprising veggie that will give you a lush purple and a marvelous blue – red cabbage. If you want it for purple, just boil the cabbage until you get a concentrate.
For the blue hue, stir in 1 tsp of baking soda, a little a time and see how both reach delivering a charming blue.
Tips For Homemade Food Colors
- Start with one color
Do not try everything in one go. Start with one as it will give you enough time to get the color right.
- How to prepare the color
If you are using berries or mangoes, then blend the fruits until you get a thick liquid. Strain the liquid over a fine strainer and discard the chunks and seeds. Strain and keep aside.
If you are using carrots or beets, then chop them and blend them with a little water for a smooth liquid. Strain and keep aside.
For cabbage, chop the veggies and cover with water. Simmer for 30 minutes for purple color. For blue hue, mix in cooking soda. Strain and keep aside.
- Thicken the colors
The liquids you would have got in the above step will be pretty thin. You have to reduce the same and thicken it so that the colors are really strong. So, just add the color liquids to a saucepan and simmer on medium flame until you get a thick paste.
- Freeze it
Allow the paste to cool down completely. Fill in ice cube molds and store in your freezer to be used layer.
- Use as desired
Defrost the color when you need some and stir into your batter or frosting as required.
Each and every hue mentioned above is natural. Just play around with your creativity and you will get more colors on the go. Happy cooking!