Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dye Free!

For those of you who are trying to use less food colorings in your baking don't fret that you will now have bland Christmas cookies. There are many options out there for naturally dying foods. For those of you who are wondering why food dyes are bad for you when they have no nutritional value, well they are. There are many studies (just type "food coloring and kids" into a Google search and thousands of links to articles pop up) that show that while they have no nutritional value, they do cause hyper-activity in children. Children with ADD, ADHD, and other neurological disorders benefit greatly when on a dye free diet. Here is a Time article that interesting.

Anyways for those of you who have a family member allergic to food dyes (red is gaining its allergy status to the point of pharmaceutical companies having to make their red colored drugs without that red dye any more) here are a few ways you can still decorate cookies, color frosting and never compromise on taste.

I made these pink cupcakes for my daughters birthday back in October. They are much brighter than you see in this picture. She requested pink Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes for her birthday. And these were a hit!

For the pink I used in this whip cream frosting I used frozen strawberry juice.
You could also add blackberry for dark purple, blueberry for a bright blueish-purple, tumeric for yellows, frozen raspberry's make a bright pink, avocado makes green (watch this one it will make your frosting a bit thinner, but its mild taste usually doesn't show up), beets make redish-purple.

Now if you don't want to spend a lot of time experimenting, you can purchase dyes that are usable just like the conventional food colorings. You can probably find kits at your local natural food store or there are many brands you can find online. India Tree is one such company with many colors to choose from. There is no limit to color when trying to go natural. The price may be a bit higher, but if you have a family member who cannot have food dyes this might just an alternative that makes their special day that much more special.

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