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Safe Red Food Dyes for Valentine’s Day Baking

Safe Red Food Dyes for Valentine’s Day Baking

My daughter, for one, used to get very high on her horse (read
belligerent and very cranky), after she would eat food which contained
artificial food dyes.

Fortunately, as she has gotten older, this has
been less and less of a problem for us. However, young children are
especially vulnerable to chemicals that affect the central nervous
system, and it is no joke that one by one, the artificial dyes are
taken off the market as they are discovered to cause cancer or be
highly neurotoxic!

Here is how I safely dye my Valentine cookies and cupcake frosting red!

Simply take any of the juice of red fruits and vegetables that stain clothing, such as that from beets, strawberries, raspberries and cherries, and use that to dye the frosting or baked goods.

I often buy canned beets, for example, and just drain off the juice to use for these projects. (And then you can eat the beets for dinner!)
Or, thaw some frozen berries, and use the resulting juice (there will be plenty).

Sometimes the additional liquid of the fruit or vegetable juice is a problem, so in those instances, I simply substitute the fruit or vegetable juice for some of the recipe’s liquid.

And if you’re worried about your frosting tasting like beets, don’t worry: The sugar seems to obliterate the taste.

Read more: All recipes, Children, Desserts, Food, Holidays, Life, Valentine's Day

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
9:30AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Thank you

7:33PM PST on Nov 29, 2012

Thanks Annie.

11:38AM PDT on Sep 29, 2010

Wow thank you so much, I have been looking all over for a solution to this dilemma.

2:40AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010


2:42PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

brilliant! thank you--- i had known about the dye, but never thought of substitutes-- rather, i just avoided attempting to bake anything red. thank you so much!

2:57AM PST on Feb 13, 2010

Thanks )

5:54PM PST on Feb 11, 2010

Great idea! Thank you, Annie.

3:23PM PST on Feb 11, 2010

Great information for a "great" grandmother. I haven't had children to entertain for a while, but new ones are due. I need to be prepared to not pollute them!

12:12PM PST on Feb 11, 2010

Fabulous idea! I will have to try some of the darker fruit juices (i.e.> blueberry, cranberry, pomegrante)out on a red velvet cake!

10:22AM PST on Feb 11, 2010

It is too bad that the photograph accompanying this article shows a red velvet cupcake. I have refused to make red velvet cake/cupcakes for 55 years because it requires a SHOCKING amount of horrible red food coloring (like an entire bottle of the stuff!) and I'm willing to wager real money that the pictured cupcake was made with artificial food coloring. There is no way that dark a scarlet red color could be achieved without using it. Shame on Care2 for not showing a product using the suggested substitutes.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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