- By Rima Chakraborty
With spring just around the corner, all I can think about is the beautiful colours that nature gifts us in all forms. No surprises here, Mother Nature is always at her best as an artist and flaunts some of her best creations that leaves us in awe.
Be it flowers such as jasmine, lilac, daisies, peonies, roses or animals or colourful birds, there are all so attractive and elegant. Vegetables and fruits around us is a place for endless colour inspiration. I could go on and on. I love this time of year!
It puts all of us in the mood for celebration and a celebration is always incomplete without treats. I think of treats and sugar cookies with pastel icing on them, frosted watermelon and bring cupcakes to come to my mind. Have you painted such a colourful picture yet in your mind? If not, close your eyes for a moment and try it.
But, all of this comes at a cost – using chemical food dyes! We all know someone who is allergic to artificial food colours and a lot of doctors have said these can lead to cancer, hyperactivity and also behavioural problems in children. So, we all need to it a second thought before we put in our or our loved one’s mouth! And that is why homebakers.co.in has got your covered. We are here to remedy this issue and will give you our go-to techniques for your natural food colouring needs for cakes, cupcakes or cookies.
We Indians have ingredients in our own kitchen racks to help us get this colour. Use saffron or turmeric. As both the aforementioned ingredients are super strong, it is advised to use them in really small quantities, to begin with, and over due course of time, you will know the exact amount. Try replacing the liquid in the recipe with spice-infused one.
This is the easiest colour to get. Carrots are available throughout the year and super easy to juice. You can also directly buy carrot juice from the market for this one. It is usually sweet, so make sure the sugar content in your cake is according to the sweetness of the juice.
Red and Pink
Red is not a naturally occurring colour in nature, like green for instance. However, It is one is also super simple. Try beetroots. They too are easily available and they do not alter the flavour of the cake. One may also try pomegranate, raspberries and strawberries, depending on which red or pink shade you want in your cake. You may juice them or boil them in water to make a concentrated liquid. For berries, you can mash them and then strain the liquid to remove seeds.
I wasn’t aware until recently that there is a beetle (Cochineal) which is crushed into a powder. When mixed with water it produced a red colour, but pure red is generally manufactured.
All thanks to Popeye who made spinach super popular. It is super simple to blend and gives a rich green colour to your food. It is also easily available at any health food store near you. It is super-saturated and completely flavourless.
Purple and Blue
Ever heard of red cabbage? Try boiling them until you get a dark, concentrated broth. It gives a super pretty colour and there is no flavour change. To make a blue dye, you may feel like a scientist. All you need to do is add some baking soda to the aforementioned broth and slowly stir the ingredients. It will magically become blue.
Black and Grey
Charcoal made from coconut is edible. One may use it while baking to give their bakes black/grey colour. It has no taste and gives the final product a great and unusual look.
Homemade food colouring is a lot of fun and we hope you have as much fun too. Do not forget that the natural colours will not make your cakes as appealing as chemical ones. That is why keep playing around with measurements and get creative.
The colours when baked will be pale, not the deep red/green or blue you will typically get when tried with artificial ones. Also, ensure that you add a few drops of these natural colours to avoid strong flavours.
If you are after other colours, remember the rule for mixing colours and apply the same logic.
Do not forget to let us know your tricks and tips to make DIY food colours at home. Till then, happy baking!