Fun for Kids: Safe Berry-Based Food Colors
The FDA has estimated that between 47,000 and 94,000 Americans are sensitive to food dye Yellow No. 5. 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. At the moment there are seven dyes on the market. The rest have been taken off the market because they have been found to be toxic or carcinogenic.
You can make fun children’s food–cookies, cakes, and candies–using juice dyes instead of store bought artificial food colors. Here is how to make your own juice dyes:
One or more of the following: frozen berries, canned beets, or 1/2 cup plant material (blueberries, cranberries, strawberry).
Water as needed.
Use the juice straight from thawed berries, or juice drained from canned beets. Mix colors for hue variations.
If using fresh berries, or fruit, combine the plant material with 1 cup of water in a pan and simmer over low heat for 1/2 hour or so, adding more water as it evaporates.
Plant suggestions include blueberries, purple grapes, cranberries, beets, and turmeric (for yellow)!
Parents: Do you have a favorite kids’ recipe with berries or a great dye alternative? Let us know in the comment field below.