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There have been many times in those recipe creating moments when I have needed a red food coloring. I won’t use the typical #40 red food dye that you find on your local grocery shelves, and to be honest, the natural food dyes… well, I find that they lack the luster and vibrancy that I like . I know that beetroot juice is wonderful and natural dye… I have a stain on my chef’s coat that always reminds me of that. hehe
But here is one issue that I always come up against… I never seem to have any fresh beets on hand when inspiration hits me. And an 18 mile round trip to the grocery store is a sure bet inspiration killer. Beet powder is always an option, specially when you don’t want to add additional liquid to a recipe but even that can be hard to find.
So, I decided to juice some beets and freeze the juice in 1/4 cup portions. Within my collection of mason jars I fell in love with my itty-bitty 4 0z jars. They hold 1/4 cup of juice beautifully! And yes, that sentence does require an exclamation point… because I find this down right exciting… don’t you? :) Of course you can freeze it in any increment you want. Ice cube trays work perfectly as well.
Please note that the quantity of beets needed to create a certain volume will always vary. It will depend on the freshness and quality of the beets. So, please just use the amounts given as a guideline. So, when the time comes that inspiration hits and you find yourself in dire need of red food dye… pull a jar of juice from the freeze, allow it to thaw and surrender to the creative gods of raw! This is where I typically would go on and on as to how healthy beets can be for us, but I promised to stay focused. So for more reading enjoyment you can check this site out. A nutritious food dye… gotta love that. If you scroll down towards the end of this post, I shared some information I found about what they are finding in studies about food dyes. Scary.
Artificial Food Dye Dangers (source)
Red 2 – carcinogenic; increases bladder tumor risk; found on Florida oranges.
Red 3 – thyroid carcinogen; banned from external use products; found in maraschino cherries, sausage and candy among others.
Red 40 – most common food dye; linked to allergies and ADHD in children; found in candy, cereal, desserts, drugs and cosmetics among others.
Yellow 5 – currently undergoing testing; linked to behavioral problems in children; found in beverages, candy, cereal, gelatin, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics among others.
Yellow 6 – currently undergoing testing; suspected of causing adrenal tumors and hypersensitivity; found in baked goods, cereal, candy, gelatin and cosmetics among others.
Blue 1 – currently undergoing testing; suspected of causing kidney tumors; found in beverages, candy, cereal and pharmaceuticals.
Blue 2 – currently undergoing testing; suspected of increasing tumor risk – especially of the brain; found in beverages, candy, pet food and pharmaceuticals.
Green 3 – currently undergoing testing; suspected of causing tumors of the bladder and testes; found in personal care products, ice cream, beverages, lipstick and other cosmetics.
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