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Homemade Red & Blue Food Dyes for the Fourth!

Red, white, and blue desserts are a popular part of every fourth of July celebration! But some people do worry about all that food coloring and the unnecessary additives that go along with it. If you want to have a festive treat for the holiday and keep it all natural, making your own dyes out of colorful fruits and vegetables is easy! All you have to do is follow this simple guide.

General Tips

  • Remember that some of the flavor from your fruits, veggies, and spices are going to transfer over. For example, for yellow, many people use turmeric. In that case, it’s best to use stale turmeric for coloring, since it’s relatively flavorless.
  • It’s hard to get true, bright reds or a vibrant blues with most natural ingredients. However, you can get very lovely deep pinks and blueish purples.
  • Experiment on with the amounts of dye to perfect it! Depending on what type of food you use and what you’re adding it to, your colors may bake up differently.

For Red/Pink Dyes
Best colorings: Beets, Pomegranate, Raspberry
The juices from these foods make excellent dyes for deep pinks, reds, and magenta colors. Beets are the best option here, since they have a lot of juice and you only need a little bit of it anyway to get good color. For pomegranate and raspberries, you will need to mash and strain the juice from them.


For Blue/Purple Dyes
Best colorings: Red Cabbage, Blackberries
Strange as it sounds, your best bet to getting an actual blue dye is by using red cabbage. Simmer the whole cabbage in water for at least 10 minutes. Drain the liquid into a bowl, straining out the cabbage. When the liquid is completely cool, add a little baking soda – not more than 1/2 a teaspoon at a time – to the mixture. The resulting reaction between the liquid and the baking soda will turn the dye blue!
Note: If you are using this dye to color a cake batter, reduce the amount of baking soda you add to the actual cake accordingly.

If you’re using blackberries instead (or red cabbages without the baking soda) the color you’ll get is more of a deep purple than blue. You’ll need to mash the berries and strain the juices.

 

Photo Credits: Progressive PioneerTry Handmade, Eye Candy

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