St. Patrick's Day is a big holiday for our family--and a very fun holiday for the kids. While we love all of the fun, cooking for kids ideas popping up on Pinterest and on our favorite blogs; we aren't such fans of the health risks of artificial food colorings and dyes. We thought we would put together a list of our favorite, all natural, green food coloring and food dye alternatives for St. Patrick's Day!
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All Natural, Commercial Food Dyes
I have not had a lot of success with commercial, all natural food colorings and dyes--but, many people stand by them! While I have used India Tree--it is a lot more difficult for me to blend colors for successful results. Especially for a bright, St. Patrick's Day green. I do; however, like the India Tree Jimmies and Decorating Sugars !
Matcha Green Tea Powder
Matcha Green Tea Powder does have a slight taste (and some are more earthen and grainy than others)--but, I find that it works very well in coloring cookies and baked goods. It offers a nice, light green hue for frosting as well. Again--you will need to research the brands to find one with organically sourced ingredients. Also, keep in mind that Matcha Green Tea contains natural caffeine as well.
Wheatgrass also has a bit of an "outdoorsy" taste--but, it blends very smoothly into recipes and the flavor is mild enough to be masked by fruit, chocolate or vanilla. Also--be sure to look for organically sourced products.
Spinach or Kale Vegetable Powders
First of all--vegetable powders are literally powdered vegetables. These powders smell & taste like their vegetable counterparts--in concentrated form. A little of these powders go a long way and should only be used in recipes with scent/taste masking ingredients! Check the ingredient list and be sure to look for all natural, organic powders.
Using fresh, organic spinach, kale or field greens is a bit more work--but, if you have them on hand--they do make convenient, all natural green food coloring alternatives. Either put the green leaves through a juicer or puree in food processor--then add a little of the green to the food you seek to color. Again--there will be a bit of a "green" taste to the mix--especially if you use a stronger green such as kale--so use the minimum amount and add it to foods with flavors able to hide the green!
These dye alternatives also work well in coloring the seasonal green beer. Again--a little of these dyes goes a long way--especially in a light colored beer or pale ale!