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Natural Food Dyes – Detox Diva DIY

Submitted by on Sunday, 29 November 20094 Comments

naturescolors_photoChoosing to bake with natural food dyes is easy and well worth it. One by one, FD &C food dyes–those that had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–are taken off the market in the U.S., and there are now only seven left. The rest have been removed because they are toxic, carcinogenic, and can cause hyperactivity. Pediatricians in Great Britain now recommend that parents remove synthetic food dyes from childrens’ diets because they are suspected of causing behavioral problems.

The FDA has estimated that between 47,000 and 94,000 Americans are sensitive to food dye Yellow No. 5, one of the most commonly used dyes for one. It can cause asthma, hives, headache, and is linked to behavioral changes. In a double-blind study reported in the Journal of Pediatrics, the study clearly demonstrated a relation between ingestion of Yellow No. 5 and behavioral changes in children who are allergic to it.

Natural dyes are lovely, as these photos from natural dye company India Tree’s website depict. India Tree offers many colors, recipes, and decorating tips on their website.


You can also make your own natural food dyes for coloring frosting and other decorations such as cookies, cakes, and candies, using the juice from fruits and vegetables. Here is how:

Natural Food Dyes
Choose a few primary colors you want to focus on, and from these you can blend new colors. You want to use the juice of colorful produce, and canned, frozen, and fresh produce are equally good choices.

One half cup of juice will make plenty of food dye.

Juice from:

red grapes


ground turmeric


strong tea
strong coffee

Water as needed.

Add the juice straight from thawed berries, or juice drained from canned beets to a small saucepan, and add water as needed, but not too much so as not to dilute the natural colors. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, using a potato masher to squeeze out as much juice from the fruit or vegetable as possible. Strain and cool. Mix colors for various colors as desired.

Plant suggestions include blueberries, purple grapes, cranberries, beets, and turmeric (for yellow)!

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).


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