How to: Make Your Own Natural Food Dye at Home (DIY) for Mermaid/ Unicorn Dough

There's this girl/ women/ lady- all over Superperson I follow on instagram named Shira Shenberger, her handle is @it'saconfettiparty and if you aren't following her yet, what are you doing with your life. And no she doesn't know I'm giving her a shout out, I literally just decided to give credit where it's due. Because unicorn, rainbow, pastel colored challahs are one of her specialties, she does it beautifully, see her feed to get an idea of the awesomeness. Anyways, I've been following (not stalking) her insta-stories for a while now and came to a couple of conclusions- a) she's got the most adorable family, b) I would love to meet her some day and c) I need some of those colored loaves in  my life. And so I did some research online and tried my best. 

I'm not afraid of food coloring, I've used it plenty of times before but have also recently been doing a little more research into my ingredients and being a little more aware of what I'm putting into my body. This is not to say I will NEVER eat anything with food coloring again, because who am I kidding? this is America. I had a thought pop into my head and although I tried, I couldn't push it away. So I tried my hand at it and whipped up my very own natural food dyes at home. It was really quite simple to do too! Here's what I did:

I knew I wanted blue, yellow, green and red coloring so that I could mix those basics and make others like pink, orange and purple. Researching this subject it seemed that the best choices for making these were beets, blueberries, turmeric and really green leafy greens. 

To get the blue color I took a half a cup of blueberries and put them in a food processor with a 1/4 cup of water.  Then, I let it sit for an hour so the color would seep in and get as saturated as possible before straining any skins and pieces of blueberry out, I used these left over pulps for some awesome muffins later in the day. 

For the red color, I put the beets through the food processor with 2 tablespoons of water and pulsed until they were pretty small and had let out all of their liquids. I let that sit for an hour as well and then strained it to reserve only the juices. I used those pieces strained out, for a horseradish dip later on because I hate wasting foods. 

Moving on to the yellow. I mixed about a teaspoon of turmeric in a 1/4 cup of warm water, stirred well and allowed to sit for an hour before using it. 

Last was the green, I used some dark green leafs for this, because the darker the leaf, the darker the pigment of the juice after. I used a full cup of mixed greens and poured them into a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water and brought the water to a simmer on the stovetop and let it continue to simmer for about 2 minutes before closing the heat. I then allowed the mixture to sit for a few minutes before pressing down on the leaves with a fork to release more of those green juices. I let it sit for about an hour before straining out the leaves which I used later in some meat balls. 

Here are a few things I learnt from this venture and some tips I can give you:

1. Use gloves and cover your counters while doing this project, these food dyes will stain just like food coloring does, the turmeric and beet ones specifically can be really hard to get off of hands and surfaces both. 

2. If they aren't saturated enough, double and triple your batches for darker pigment. 

3. When mixing these into dough, use a mixer, instead of your hands if you can because the process of working the color in can be a tedious one. 

4. I thought these would taste awful and I was most worried about the green one tasting leafy but the dough really didn't take on any strange flavors at all, it tasted just as good as it always does. 

5. Mixing colors to get different shades is really simple to do. I mixed the yellow and blue to make a turquoise green and I mixed the red and blue to make a purple. Also the beet dye was more of a pink then a red but I noticed that if I put alot more into the dough it would have been far more red. 

Here's what I learnt while doing this project- actual food coloring is easier to work with and builds color in dough far faster but this can totally be perfected and done in so many situations. 

Oh and here's my challah recipes if you need you a fabulous one:

I had a really fun time trying this either way and I think you would too, let me know if you do!

This is not a sponsored post. There, got that out of the way hehe.

Thanks so much for stopping in!

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