First I think its important to know why we should avoid man made fabricated food coloring.
The first thing to note is that Shellac or Food Glaze comes from the back end of a beetle like bug. The female bug eats sap from a tree and then poops it out to form tubes so that they can get from branch to branch. This is then scraped from the tree and processed with alcohol that turns it into liquid Shellac (this is also used in French polish to give the shine to furniture and wooden flooring…Yum!!). The same process is also used in Sprinkles (hard candy-like topping for desserts).
Confections containing Shellac (also known as Confectioners Glaze, Resinous Glaze)
- Hershey’s Whopper’s Malted Milk Balls™ • Hershey’s Milk Duds™ • Nestle’s Raisinettes™ • Nestle’s Goober’s™ • Tootsie Roll Industry’s Junior Mints™ (NOT Tootsie Rolls) • Tootsie Roll Industry’s Sugar Babies™ • Jelly Belly™ jelly beans, mint crèmes • Godiva’s™ Dark Chocolate Almond Bar; Dark Chocolate Cherries; Milk Chocolate Cashews; White Chocolate Pearls; Milk Chocolate Pearls • Gertrude Hawk’s™ chocolate-covered nuts and raisins; cupcake sprinkles; decorative cake pieces.
Russell Stover’s™ jelly beans; NOT in their chocolate-covered cherries or mint patties.
In Skittles™ and Starburst™ this is no shellac, but they do contain gelatin (an animal-derived ingredient)
Secondly we will look at artificial food coloring.
This information comes from the link below, we have summarized but it is worth reading just click on the link.
The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring
Americans are now eating 5 times more food dye than in 1955.
Many parents have observed their child’s behavior improve drastically when taken off food dyes, especially Red #40. Because of this widespread anecdotal evidence, the editors at Special Education Degree decided to do an investigative report on the negative effects of food dye’s in human beings.
The hidden dangers of food coloring dyes:
Blue #1 Brilliant Blue
Known Dangers: Caused kidney tumors in mice, May induce an allergic reaction in individuals with pre-existing asthma
Commonly found in: baked goods, beverages, candies, cereal
Blue #2 Indigo Carmine
Known Dangers: Causes significant occurrence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats
Commonly found in: beverages, candies, dog food
Citrus Red #2
Known Dangers: Toxic to rats and mice at modest levels. Bladder and other tumors found in mice labeled “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the IARC
Commonly found in: skin of Florida oranges
Green #3 Fast Green
Known Dangers: As a food dye it is prohibited in the EU and some other countries caused significant increases in bladder tumors in male rats
Commonly found in: beverages, candies, ice cream, cosmetics
Red #40 Allura Red
Known Dangers: Accelerates the appearance of immune system tumors in mice suspected trigger of hyperactivity in children causes allergy-like reactions in some people
Commonly found in: beverages, candies, cereal, cosmetics
Red #3 Erythrosine
Known Dangers: Suspected trigger of hyperactivity in children Thyroid carcinogen in animals. This coloring was issued a partial ban by the FDA in 1990.
Commonly found in: baked goods, candies, sausage, maraschino cherries
Yellow #5 Tartrazine
Known Dangers: Can cause allergy-like reactions. May cause mild to severe hypersensitiviy reactions.
Commonly found in: baked goods, candies, cereal, beverages
Yellow #6 Sunset Yellow
Known Dangers: May cause hyperactivity in some children. Causes adrenal tumors in animals
Commonly found in: baked goods, sausage, cereal, cosmetics
How to make natural food colorings
Natural Food Coloring, (don’t forget we have the primary colors Red, Green and Blue. Mixing these colors by experimenting will give us many colors)
Yellow – Saffron and or turmeric. (use sparingly as these can be powerful tasting spices)
Orange – you may be tempted to use an orange but this wont work it will separate the frosting because of the acid nature.
Use fresh carrot juice instead. This shouldn’t inhibit the flavor as carrot juice is sweet anyway.
Red and Pink – you can juice Beets for this as they give amazing depth of color. For a lighter color you can use strawberries or raspberries. Just drain the juice and the seeds be careful not to over saturate the frosting.
Green – you can juice fresh spinach for this as it is quite tasteless but gives a good strong color. If you haven’t got a juicer you can use liquid chlorophyll you can get this from most health food stores.
Purple – you can boil a red cabbage until it turns to a dark red broth and use the juice from this as it will make the frosting purple: You can also use hibiscus flower powder just add sparingly until you get the desired result.
Blue – for this you need to do as above but strain the cabbage and reduce the liquid by heating even more until it becomes thicker. When it becomes thick add baking soda only a pinch at a time until the water turns blue. It will appear to be a very dark blue however when added to the frosting it will be a pastel blue.
Brown – for this you can use pure espresso, cocoa powder, or even instant coffee granules (if there is no alternative)
Happy Baking this Holiday Season!
Mako & Hema