Our family tries to eat more wholesome versions of food these days, without artificial preservatives, flavorings or colors. We mostly try to avoid processed foods with their questionable ingredients. Yet with regard to Easter egg decorating, we have tended to use the typical box of food coloring to dye our eggs. Those are the same artificial colors like yellow 5 and red 40 whose safety the Center for Science and the Public Interest
has been asking the Food and Drug Administration to scrutinize. Even though the FDA decided not to take action on this matter, it gives me pause. Why risk it with artificial colors made from petroleum or coal tar?
So, we've been experimenting at our house with natural food colorings. We've been trying to find a natural alternative for each basic color. Beet juice has successfully made a medium-pink color. Turmeric has created a lovely golden yellow. Real juice from a can of natural cherries turns some of the eggs a pale pink.
The colors seem to work best with at least a cup of boiling water and a little vinegar. We boiled the eggs in the beet juice and achieved a more stunning effect than the pale pink color we got when adding eggs at room temperature to the cherry juice. We used a cup of boiled water to a half-cup of vinegar to a teaspoon of turmeric to achieve a pretty yellow color. The fresh spinach that I boiled did not seem to work, so we'll try again to achieve a natural green color.
We've also been trying cilantro and cabbage to see what colors will develop from them.
Labels: eating better, parenting