Natural food dies

Food dyes can contain some pretty nasty ingredients and linked to a swag of health problems. Just google artificial dies! Most artificial food dyes are petroleum based, yes the same stuff used to make fuel for your car, and can have the same effect the body as lead. Yikes! Why is this stuff even aloud.

The great thing is, with a little imagination, we can avoid artificial colourings in favour of plant based colour. The end result will be a little softer, but a whole lot healthier. Why don’t you try some of these:

Pale pink
From raspberries – Puree fresh or frozen raspberries, then strain through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well.

Dark Pink
From beetroot – add fresh beetroot juice to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well. Or use beetroot powder (available from health food stores).

Purple
From beetroot and bicarb soda – add juice from beetroots to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well. Add a small pinch of bicarb soda at a time to make more purple. The bicarb tends to keep reacting over time so leave for a few minutes before adding more.

Dark pink
From blackberries – Puree fresh or frozen blackberries for a few minutes then strain through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well.

Yellow
From turmeric – add tumeric powder to icing 1/4 tsp at a time and mix well.

Orange
From carrots – add carrot juice to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well.

Green
From spirulina – add spirulina powder to icing 1/2 tsp at a time and mix well (Spirulina is a green, leafy superfood. Spirulina powder available from health food stores). Or you could use parsley, spinach or basil juice.

Blue
From blueberries – gently cook fresh or frozen blueberries for a few minutes then juice through a sieve. Add 1/2 tsp at a time to icing and mix well. Add a small pinch of bicarb soda at a time to change colour to blue. The bicarb tends to keep reacting over time so leave for a few minutes before adding more.

Brown
From instant coffee granules or strong espresso. This will of course impart a coffee flavour.

Black
From activated charcoal (yes its safe to eat) or squid ink.

Photo credit: Ditte Ingemann

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