When it comes to artificial food dyes, the vibrant colors may attract us at first, but the potential negative health effects and environmental impact give us pause. Fortunately, nature provides us with an array of vibrant colors, including the color blue. Here's how we can achieve a rich blue hue without using artificial dyes like Brilliant Blue FCF (FD&C Blue No. 1, E133) and Indigotine (FD&C Blue No. 2, E132).
Blue from Butterfly Pea Flowers
Butterfly pea flowers, or Clitoria ternatea, are an incredible source of natural blue color. These flowers have been used for centuries in Southeast Asia to color food and beverages. You can infuse these flowers in water to create a stunning blue dye. When acidity is added to the mix, the blue turns into a vibrant purple.
Blue from Red Cabbage
Sounds strange, doesn't it? However, red cabbage, when boiled and mixed with baking soda, yields a brilliant blue color. The pigments in red cabbage are known as anthocyanins and they change color based on the pH level of their environment.
Blue from Spirulina
Spirulina, a type of blue-green algae, has recently been recognized as an excellent source of natural blue food dye. In fact, the FDA has approved spirulina extract as a food colorant. This microalgae also brings along a host of nutritional benefits, including proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Moving Towards Natural Dyes
Transitioning towards natural food dyes is not only a healthier choice for our families, but it's also a decision that positively impacts the environment. The extraction processes for natural dyes are usually less harmful and more sustainable than their artificial counterparts, which typically involve the use of petroleum products and other harmful chemicals.
So next time you're planning to whip up a colorful feast for your children, consider reaching for these natural sources of blue. Not only will you be ensuring a fun, vibrant meal, but you'll also be making a choice that promotes better health and a greener planet.