Wednesday, October 03, 2012

MoFo3: How To Make Blue Food (sorta)

Well, I thought I'd share a little more about my adventures in blue food making. It turns out, there really aren't many (any?) truly blue foods out there in the natural world. I didn't want to cheat and use blue food coloring for the rainbow potluck... so I did some internet searching and reading, and came upon the Cabbage Solution!

You get a red cabbage, boil in some water for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cabbage, and boil the water for another 5-10 minutes until it is reduced. Then, you add a *pinch* of baking soda to make the liquid "basic" (as opposed to acidic). If you add too much, like I did with my first batch, the liquid gets greenish (a really beautiful teal green - which you can see in my two smaller bowls)... so proceed with caution. The liquid is really dark, so it's a good idea to work with a white dish, so that you can see around the edges what color you've created. 

As you can see, it took me a few tries. My kitchen surface was covered in all different greenish blue purpley splotches. Sorta pretty... but I cleaned up anyway. :) 

First, I wanted to try some blue radishes for our rainbow salad. So I took some of the cabbage dye and soaked the radishes in the dye. Honestly, as you can see, they're actually pretty purplish. But heck. At least it's purpley-blue... right? Making blue food without food coloring is hard! In the end, these weren't the most amazing success, but they definitely did the trick and represented the blue-indigo-violet end of the color spectrum quite nicely in our salad bowl!

Next, I wanted to make Blue Mashed Potatoes. But really, doesn't that look a lot more like PURPLE to you??? Why are all the foods we call "blue" actually purple foods masquerading as blue foods? It's like they have identity issues. Something is afoot!

However, I noticed that when I put the purple potatoes in the water to boil them, the water instantly turned teal-greenish. Can you see that? It was really beautiful - and reminded me exactly of the teals and purples that I experienced with the cabbage. Science!!

In the end I added all my blue cabbage "dye" to the mashed potatoes as the liquid (along with some almond milk). You can see the color of potatoes up on my plate. Honestly, I still think they really look purple, but - you know what, I'm okay with that. Mostly, it was just blowing my mind that you could make something edible and delicious turn out with that vivid color, 100% naturally! The color was downright freaky and beautiful. I think it would be a really fun thing to do for kids... I mean who doesn't want to eat mashed potatoes that color!!?? 
Also, it's been super, super hot here. I've got teaching and planning to do, but this is what I wish we were doing!


  1. So interesting! I used to make a a violet syrup from violets in the garden and the liquid would go pink after cooking, but with a drop of lemon juice, the blue came right back. Nature is really cool!


  2. i always tell people that there are no blue foods but no one believes me! I
    m glad you do though :) this is really neat! a great way to make fun colors for kids too without anything artificial!

    1. The wild mushroom lactarius indigo is pretty blue. However, it's hardly an everyday eat.


  3. Science!!

    I love that teal color... And I thought the mashed potatoes were an excellent color. They were one of the only things the Emperor wouldn't try! We can't get him to eat mashed potatoes at all though... He's a weird guy.

  4. Anonymous10:40 AM

    I love blue food! Keep fighting the good fight; you'll crack that natural blue color code yet. (And those mashed potatoes were sooooo pretty!)

  5. That is so cool, Amey! I want to try the Cabbage Solution! I've tried making blue food coloring with blueberries, but it is more purple than blue. Yummers looks like a very competent snorkeler! :P

  6. This reminds me of that scene in Bridget Jones diary where they are eating blue soup and someone says "Just because one cannot readily think of any blue vegetables doesn;t mean we can;t enjoy this..." Or something. What a great solution, and I bet cabbage juice is pretty healthy! Here in Germany some brave souls drink Sauerkraut juice.

  7. I really love that there is a way to dye things without using artificial colourings and I think purpley-blue is a pretty good result!

  8. Those mashed potatoes are great! I planned a rainbow potluck once. So fun!

  9. I've been scavenging all the fall perennial sales for blue and purple flowers. I may have to extend this to my food. You've totally inspired me!

  10. Anonymous7:45 PM

    Love the idea of a rainbow potluck! Your blue-ish creations are beautiful!

  11. Science! Isn't it awesome how the water goes from blue to purple to green teal and back again depending on how you use it? Something about

  12. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing.


I love comments, they really make my day! Thanks for reading my blog!