Colorful foods seem to be more appealing, this is true for adults and for children. If your baby is at the stage of eating pureed foods, you know for sure that those bright orange, green, red, and yellow colors are as natural as they come. But what about babies that have progressed to finger foods and those toddlers that eat a wide variety of adult food? How do we know that what they are eating isn't loaded with artificial food dyes?
While blue 1 and 2, red 3, and yellow 6 sound like something you may find in your child's crayon box, they are actually artificial food dyes that are used to color candy, beverages, baked goods, and tons of other things that we eat everyday. These artificial colors are approved by the U.S. and may contain toxic substances and are actually banned from use in other countries because of their potential link to some types of cancers and disorders. Pretty scary. So next time you reach in your pantry for that food coloring, think about reaching for some other pantry or crisper items that may color your food just as well. All the following suggestions are based on coloring about 1 cup of butter cream frosting. You may have to experiment with quantities of natural dyes until you achieve the color you want when coloring other foods.
Yellow/Orange: Add 1 tsp of turmeric for yellow color. Turmeric gives you an eggish color and is great for making tofu more appetizing without changing the taste. Stale turmeric is fairly flavor neutral. Also try orange or lemon zest, ground cumin, saffron, carrot juice, or chamomile tea to produce a yellow or orange color.
Pink/Red/Purple: Use blender to puree about 14 fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, mix juice directly into the icing using a metal strainer to separate the seeds from the juice. This creates a blush or pale pink. Beet, blackberry or pomegranate juice works great for a dark red/purple color. Again you will need to puree the blackberries and pomegranate seeds in the blender and separate the seeds from the juice using a metal strainer.
Green: Puree 1/2 avocado until smooth to produce a pastel green color. Mix this into your frosting. Steamed and pureed spinach will give you a dark green color.