Editorís note:†This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally posted on March 15, 2013. Enjoy!
For the past 50 years, the Chicago River has been dyed “radioactive looking Kelly green” for St. Patrick’s Day, as†one commentator puts it. The practice began when it was noticed that orange fluorescein dye used by plumbers to trace illegal sewage discharges turned the water green. After the EPA ruled that fluorescein was harmful to the river, other substances — currently, 40 pounds of powdered vegetable dye — are used.
Green is everywhere for St. Patrick’s Day, though blue was actually the†first color to be associated with it, according to some accounts. The “wearing of the green” became traditional after the 17th century, with many Irish revolutionary groups using the color in their flags.
If you’d rather forego chemical-based dyes,†green food coloring and the health risks of FD&C Green #3 (which has been linked to tumors and, in its undiluted form, can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, digestive tract and respiratory tract), here are some other ways to go green:
Boil a bunch with some water and squeeze out a few drops of the result.
3) Green apple peels
Steeped in some water, these will produce a more yellow-green hue.
A pinch of this powdered green tea can turn many white foods (potatoes? — maybe stick to frosting!) into the desired hue.
A bunch of leaves heated in water produces a green extract.
7) Foods that are already green
Asparagus, cabbage, chard and kale and many other leafy greens are all in season in March. If you’d rather just stick with the green things nature has given us, you can still have a very green St. Patrick’s Day!
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