Turmeric, Beets, and Cabbage: The All-Star All-Natural Food Dyes
Posted by : Mary Wutz /
"Red No. 40 and Blue No. 1 aren’t invited to this year’s cookie swap. These days our favorite bakeries are skipping those artificial dyes in favor of homemade food colorings.
“Why use chemicals to achieve what you can find in nature?” asks Everist, who began making her own food coloring to tint the frosting for baby-shower cakes. “Expectant mothers wanted pink or blue, and it made me cringe to use something artificial.” She also thinks her vegetable pigments just look better. “It’s hard to control the color with store-bought dyes,” she says. “You end up with fire-engine red or anemic pink. Natural ones let you fine-tune. You can get a dusty terra-cotta or a robin’s-egg blue.”
It's better to think icing, not cake batter. Natural food dyes work beautifully mixed into icings (like royal icing.) But if you’re after red velvet cake or rainbow cookies, you’ll want to hit the supermarket aisle. “It’s hard to get that really deep color using a natural dye,” Everist says. Don’t worry though, your buttercream won’t taste like beets. Frostings and icings require such a small amount of dye that you can’t detect the flavor."