How to Naturally Colour Food
Updated: Jan 2, 2022
We Eat with Our Eyes: A Rainbow Created from All-Natural Food Colourants
There are a variety of reasons why someone might want to integrate natural colours into their food; to get creative and add aesthetic appeal, to avoid artificial colourings, to integrate superfoods, and more!
"...replace or alter any liquids in the initial recipe."
How to... The easiest way to incorporate natural colours is to replace or alter any liquids in the initial recipe. Whether it is subbing liquids for juices and/or purees, steeping ingredients into the liquid, or dissolving powders or spices, integrating natural colourants is an exciting way to "play" with your food. I highly recommend a mini blender tool, it is very useful to help evenly integrate things like powders.
A Rainbow of Ingredients:
Red: Beet, radish
Orange: Carrot, red pepper, tomato, goji berry, paprika, annatto, sweet potato
Yellow: Turmeric (curcumin), dunaliella salina, saffron, goldenberry
Green: Matcha green tea, parsley, basil, spinach, green spirulina, pandan
Blue: Blue spirulina, red cabbage + base*, butterfly pea flower
Purple: Red cabbage, acai berry, purple carrot, elderberry, purple sweet potato (ube), blueberry, maqui berry, wolfberry, grape, black goji berry, purple corn
Pink: Pitaya (dragonfruit), hibiscus, red cabbage + acid*
Black: Squid ink, charcoal powder
Brown: Harissa *Ingredients where the pH has been adjusted. Stay tuned for a new post coming up about this!
But, how will it taste? In pretty much every case, so little of the colouring ingredient is actually added that it does not alter the taste. In my experience, only really strongly flavoured ingredients come through (like turmeric). In instances like this, make sure you pair your ingredients together so they match (such as the filling of a dumpling and the wrapper) , or (if you are doing something sweet as opposed to savoury) use a colourant with a less dominant taste. For instance, I would use dunaliella salina (an algae) to colour baking yellow/orange instead of turmeric or saffron. Where to get these things? For those ingredients you can't find it at your local grocery store or health food store, check out my favourite following resources to track down these inspiring ingredients: Suncore Foods Rawnice Amazon