Science in the kitchen #1 …..pH balance and natural food dye in baking.
Its been years since I have been in a science class. Dissecting pig embryos and dissecting worms and crickets and frogs where never my cup of tea. And I hated identifying different plant parts, I only enjoyed drawing them. If there was one thing I wished I payed more attention to in science, and learned it would have been pH balance.
I am proud to say that I am finally learning some science as an adult, and its in the form of learning how to cook right. You wouldn’t believe the scientific research that simply goes into natural food dyes. You have to balance the pH level just right to achieve any color whilst baking.
I love color. Not just in my baked goods, I love fruity colored smoothies and I love biting into something that looks bright and colorful and finding it tastes incredible.
Now that I am all organic and we try not to eat anything labeled “natural”, we wouldn’t even dare touch the normal food dye that goes into processed food nowadays. Reading labels, the first thing I look for is the food dye red 40, yellow # whatever and blue # whatever. I avoid them at all costs. I revel in the products, sometimes even brand name cereals that use turmeric and annato in place of food dye. I also have a 5 yr old, who does go shopping with me. Who see’s the name brand “colored” products and sees the holiday dyed candies. I have to tell them they are dirty food and we can make clean food at home. Its actually better for my ease of mind to know each ingredient in the food he eats, as he is dairy free and has excema.
We make a lot of processed food at home. Here are some examples of some “colored products” I have made at home naturally. I am still trying to achieve certain colors but I have yellow, red and partial blue purple down…Do note that some items are “spotted with color” but I think any natural color is better then none. Can you imagine bland looking food, with no color? No, thanks! I will try and find recipes for each picture but as some of them are made up recipes of my own I cannot guarantee a recipe link for each one. And please try and bare with me as I am still figuring out hyperlinks on this Word Press.
- Yellow/Orange– Tumeric, Annatto,Saffron, Squash, yellow beet:
- Red/Pink- Rose hips, hibiscus, beet, red currants,cranberry, strawberry, Rasberry:
- Blue/Purple– Blue corn flour, blueberry, purple cabbage, purple onion, blackberry, huckleberry,
- Green- spinach, sorrel, wheat grass, chlorophyll, powdered vegetable greens, parsley,
Here are some lists of amazing articles that explain the natural pH balance of each natural food dye and how to make them yourself. These links will explain things like how to add baking soda to blueberries to retain blue for pH and how to add acid to red (like beets) for pH color variation.