Friday, March 19th, 2021...10:11 am

Natural Food Dye

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By Da Beattie

Everybody loves a beautiful piece of food. From firetruck red peppers, bright orange oranges to purple carrots and purple cauliflower, colour is just one of the many way’s nature is beautiful.

If you have consumed a coloured baked good, it was likely dyed with food dye. Food dye names are coloured and numbered and some of the ones on the market approved by the FDA are blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, red 3, red 40 and titanium dioxide.

While some studies show that food dyes can cause cancer and hyperactivity in children, at low doses, food dye’s seem to be considered safe.

The most common areas where I personally see the use of food dye is in candy, cookie decorations, macarons, fondant, cake decorations, popsicles and many more. While many companies are switching to natural food dyes such as Chapman’s Lolly popsicles, which as a consumer I have noticed have gone from bright neon colours to duller matte’s, the use of food dyes is still broad.

Here, I will be listing some ways, you as an individual can use fruits and vegetables to make your own food dye.

Powdered freeze dried fruit is an amazing way to add colour and flavour into various baked goods as cookies. Although freeze dried fruit is quite expensive, the natural colour and real fruit taste comes through in baked goods and this can be an amazing way to jazz up basic recipes like sugar cookies or make strawberry frosting for cakes.

Pink colour can also come from regular strawberries, cherries and even raspberries, although they may also impart their flavour. Red can come from beet juice. Yellow and orange can come from turmeric. Green from matcha. Blue from red cabbage with baking soda and Spirulina. Brown can come from cocoa, which unless used in excess will not impart a chocolate flavour. And black can come from charcoal and Squid Ink. (McDowell 2020)

While the colours may not be as you might be used to, to obtain deep colouring without comprising the texture and structure of a baked good, powders and gels are preferred and always remember, liquids must be reduced.

Although I have not personally tried this myself, check out the inspiration for this post at Food52

And check out Erin McDowell’s personal site at

Sources I used

McDowell, Erin. 2020. How to Make Natural Food Coloring From Ingredients in Your Kitchen.

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