Well, my experiments with Butterfly Pea Tea have kicked off a whole new obsession: natural food colouring.
I’m sure many of you are skeptical when you read that item on your ingredients list that says “natural food colouring.” I mean, what even is that?? And in the case of some companies (I’m looking at you, Kraft), the ingredients might well be “natural,” but that doesn’t mean they are actually things we want to eat. Beetle shells, anyone?
Going beyond that, though, if you’re vegan/vegetarian, you may be eating things that are not vegan/vegetarian, and you wouldn’t even know it.
So after playing around with the intense blues and purples of Butterfly Pea Tea, I was curious; what other things could I make natural food colouring out of?
The first thing I thought of was beets. I mean, every time I cook with those bad boys, my kitchen looks like someone’s been murdered there, so it seems like a no-brainer.
The question is, how to harness the power of the beet without permanently staining everything around me?
The answer, my friends, lies in a few simple kitchen tools.
First, I juiced up a couple of beets. This isn’t weird for me, I like to add a little beet juice when I’m juicing because it adds a pretty pink colour. But this time, I wasn’t looking for the juice, I was looking for the pulp.
Juicing the beets leaves you with a nice, even, fairly dry final product, which is perfect for drying.
After juicing the beets, I dehydrated them overnight in my dehydrator (here’s the one I have). If you don’t have one, spread the beet pulp in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and turn your oven on to the lowest setting. I’d bake them like that for maybe a few hours, then turn off the oven and let them sit overnight (if you don’t open the oven, the residual heat lasts quite some time). Don’t forget to stir them occasionally to make sure the drying process is even.
After you’ve dehydrated your beet pulp, just throw it into a coffee grinder or a blender and blitz the crap out of it. Et Voila! Beet powder!
Add it to baking, to cocktails, I’m even going to experiment with it in buttercream frosting…