Making natural blue food coloring from red cabbage

blue food coloring from red cabbage

Natural blue food color is rare in the world. It may seem to be common, but it is not. But now the team of scientists has found the blue color from natural extracts. They are using red cabbage to extract blue food color. 

There are options available in synthetic dyes. But it also has aroused a question about food safety. The question of food safety has been asked for decades. The evidence is still not very clear. Hence, consumers are opting for natural food colors for coloring their foodstuffs. Most of these colors are extracted from plants, vegetables, and fruits, and some of them come from crushed insects. But this does not solve the color problems.

The blue color is quite rare in natural sources. But it can be extracted from red and purple. In today’s world brilliant blue color has been extracted from these natural sources. The color comes out of a molecule called anthocyanin. 

Anthocyanin gives your color shades from red to blue and purple to black. Anthocyanin is extracted from blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and red cabbage. Most of the anthocyanin in red cabbage is red and purple, but there is a little amount of blue too. 

After years of research and constant efforts from scientists, blue color has been successfully extracted from anthocyanins. To make red anthocyanin into blue; requires a perfect enzyme. 

Learn more about anthocyanin food coloring here!

The biggest problem with natural colors is they are not stable. The pigment in red cabbage is mixed with another molecule called P2. There is only 5% of P2 in red cabbage. Mixing this molecule with aluminum ions led to a more stable blue color.

Making natural brilliant blue coloring at home is quite easy. You just need two ingredients: Red cabbage and baking soda. You might be thinking about the taste of your foodstuff. The answer is that it won’t change the taste if added in proportionate quantity. 

Now making the blue food color at home. First, cut the red cabbage into strips. Put the strips of cabbage into a large pot. Now half cover it and boil it for 15 minutes. Now strain the red cabbage and you will have purple water with you. 

Simmer the purple water for another 15-20 minutes as the blue food coloring is thick. Now add baking soda to the water. Don’t add more than 1/4 tsp baking soda or else it will spoil the taste. After adding baking soda it will become dark blue to make it subtle add soy milk or yogurt.

Now how can you use this color at home? I made blue icing using this batter. If you add more blue color then it will give you a dark blue shade and less blue color will give you a turquoise shade. It the best to use blue food color when it’s fresh or frozen. But homemade blue color doesn’t have a great shelf life. The cabbage taste becomes pronounced after some days. 

By Michael Caine

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