Color brings life to food there’s no doubt about it. But studies have found that certain food colorings can be harmful to health. So why take a risk if you can easily make your own food coloring from simple ingredients that will leave your food tasty, beautiful, and most importantly healthy?
All you need to make purple food coloring is purple cabbage. First, cut the cabbage into chunks and place in a pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the pieces of cabbage and bring to a boil. After about an hour of cooking, the color will move from the cabbage to the water, which will turn a deep purple. At this point remove the pot from the heat, let it cool, and remove the cabbage leaves (you can still use them for cooking).
Cabbage isn’t only beautiful, it also has character. As a member of the cruciferous family, it possesses many medicinal virtues. Anthocyanin is the pigment that gives the cabbage its red-purple color and also holds antioxidant properties that have been found to be effective against various types of cancer. In addition, cabbage contains 36 types of anthocyanins that also help improve the cardiovascular system as well as brain function. Cabbage is also rich in phytochemicals called I3C, which are effective against breast cancer. And if you need another reason to feel good about eating it, it contains vitamins A and C, which along with the rest of the ingredients make purple cabbage a highly recommended vegetable.
Serving suggestions: You can use the derived food coloring in all types of cooking and baking. An interesting way to incorporate it is by cooking rice in the purple water.
Hibiscus flowers are used for tea infusions and can be obtained in spice shops and nature stores. Boil half a cup of dried hibiscus flowers in 10 cups of water. Let the mixture simmer for about an hour and remove from heat. drain the leaves and pour the colored water into a separate container.
Hibiscus flowers have the ability to lower blood pressure, making them friendly to the cardiovascular system. The flowers also contain antioxidants which have been found to be anti-carcinogenic. In addition, hibiscus has a cooling effect for the body, making it quite beneficial to women who experience heat flashes.
Serving suggestions: Cook pasta in your newly brewed red water. Note that hibiscus has a sour taste that will be absorbed by the pasta, so add a generously rich sauce that will balance it out.
While many are familiar with using turmeric when cooking savory dishes, few dare to use it in desserts. However, because turmeric is so highly pigmented, using just a little of it can go a long way. You can use the spice to dye pastries, ice creams, and other sweet foods, as their strong taste will easily overwhelm a small pinch of turmeric.
Much has been said about curcumin, turmeric’s most famous active ingredient. The substance, which also gives the spice its yellow color, has many health properties, the main one being anti-inflammatory. Curcumin is such a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that it is comparable to some commercially sold anti-inflammatory drugs. Turmeric is considered in the Eastern culture as a body cleanser and has been used for centuries in alternative medicine.
Serving suggestions: Try adding a little turmeric to lemon cake batter or lemon pie dough before baking.
Green tea can be used as a food coloring when it comes in powder form.
You can grind it at home, or buy it as a ready-made powder and just add it to your dishes, same as you would turmeric. Green teas taste is quite gentle while being highly pigmented mean that here too, a little goes a long way without affecting taste. However, if you do add enough for the taste to shine through, you’ll only benefit from added freshness.
Green tea is a natural remedy that can protect us from many diseases. It helps lower bad cholesterol levels and studies have found that consuming 3 cups of green tea a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by about 11 percent. The antioxidants available in green tea abound, help fight and prevent various types of cancer. To illustrate this, studies have found that countries where it is customary to consume a lot of green tea, such as Japan and China, have a lower rate of cancer patients. Green tea can also stabilize blood sugar levels and even act as a component that catalyzes weight loss.
Serving suggestion: Add green tea powder to pancake batter, giving them an interesting color and a refreshing taste.