I wouldn’t say that I’d never heard of the link between hyperactivity, ADD/ADHD and artificial food dyes (particularly red and yellow) but since Rory is on a whole foods diet (as in, the food he eats is real, whole food, not that all of his food comes from the store Whole Foods thought that’s partially true, too), food dye doesn’t enter into the equation in our house. Plus, I’ve always adhered to the rule that if it’s blue, it’s not food. Except for blueberries.
But now we’re thinking about dyeing Easter eggs for the first time and my wheels are turning. I saw a post by Mighty Nest about Eco-Egg food dye that got me thinking about what I’d have Rory getting all over his hands. Yes, it’s easy to say that it’s only your skin, you’re not ingesting the chemical food dye, but if you’re going to tell me that slathering the largest, most porous organ of your body with a chemical isn’t going to result in absorption then… well, ignorance is bliss.
Not to mention that rainbow cakes are all the rage right now and I’d love to have a 2tarts, a local bakery, whip up an all natural gluten-free rainbow cake for little Miss Moo’s first birthday. Can you believe I just said that? I’m going to cry.
My search for natural food dye led me to 3 contenders. Yes, three. In all of the internet. India Tree (only the natural kind, not just any kind that they make), SelectTea, and Chefmaster. Unfortunately for India Tree, it also led me to see furious reviews on Amazon where people said that the dye that arrived was full of chemicals and not at all what was in the online description.
So I skipped India Tree even though I’m grateful that searching about it brought me to Spoonfed, a new favorite blog. The writer of Spoonfed contacted the president of India Tree for all of us concerned about the confusing reviews and India Tree assured her (scroll down her facebook page for the India Tree conversation) that they have now cleaned up the problem and are selling a natural product.
A side note: I didn’t order from Mighty Nest because reviews on Amazon for the same product were very poor. And I didn’t go the “make it myself” route with beets and blueberries because we don’t have that kind of time or attention span in this house– those eggs take at least 20 minutes to soak up the color. I wanted quick and dirty for my kid.
Chefmaster dyes are very expensive and yet SelectTea are even more expensive, if that’s possible. I went with Chefmaster. After I ordered seven of them I was told by someone who used a few in the past that hers all came out brown. Arrgh. I was prepared to be disappointed today when I made up little test batches to dip paper towels in and send the dyes right back.
I’m not disappointed at all.
Look at how pretty they came out!
Since I’d seen the difference between a natural rainbow cake next to the fake stuff, I had realistic expectations of the paler, more natural colors. I didn’t boil the water or add any vinegar so I’m hoping they’ll turn out even better on the eggs than they did on the paper towels.
The red is made with beet. The orange doesn’t mess around– it’s made with beta carotene and it’s thick and intense and it doesn’t take many drops to get to a usable shade.
The yellow is pretty and pale and also made with beta carotene.
The green is a little washed out and has a yellow base and is made with beta carotene and “vegetable color,” though now I’m wondering what that means. The blue is robin’s egg and beautiful, made with red cabbage.
My only disappointment is in the purple; it’s more of an indigo so I might add a few drops of pink to it when we’re ready to dye the eggs. It’s made with red cabbage and beet but is needing a touch more beet in my opinion.
The pink is my favorite– it brought a smile to my face to see how pretty it turned out. It says it’s made with lycopene (found in tomatoes and carrots) and red cabbage.
Maybe tomorrow little Roars and I will attack some eggs. Stay tuned.