Did you know that the vibrant red color of beets is perfect for creating a natural red food coloring? The bright stain from red beets that may cause you to cringe every time you think of cooking or handling beets is actually a beautiful, fascinating, and underdeveloped feature of the red beet. Beets are strikingly red, contain a natural sweetness, and are filled with antioxidants, making the beautiful root vegetable a superb addition to desserts!
Natural Beet Dye Health Benefits
Red food coloring (such as Red 40 and others) is synthetic and artificial, consisting of chemicals used to add color to food; there is no nutritional value. Furthermore, although research is still underway, there are expressed concerns over the possible link between artificial dyes with allergies and hyperactivity in children.
Fun for Kiddos!
Making food coloring out of natural ingredients is a healthy option for food coloring and a great educational tool for children to see the historical and natural process of using fruits and vegetables for dyes.
Beet dye works well for Valentine's Day foods and crafts, colored Easter eggs, bridal and baby shower decorations and foods, fabric projects, and D-I-Y natural makeup, like beet lip gloss and rouge. Embrace the beetroot's extraordinary color and have fun with Mother Nature's beautiful vibrant gift!
How to Create Natural Red/Pink Beet Dye
Raw Beet Juice
Raw beet juice extracted from a juicer makes a bold red dye. Keep in mind that juiced beets will create a bolder red color for dying; however, the flavor of beets may be more prevalent. Use beet juice raw or create a Beet Simple Syrup.
Beet Juice from Packaged Beets
Packaged pre-cooked ready-to-eat baby beets (like Love Beets) from your local grocery store, contain a decent amount of beet juice that can be drained from the package. Save the juice for beet dye.
Boil two medium-sized beets with skin on until tender. Remove beets from pot and cool slightly. Remove skins if preferred (skins are edible but chunky). In a food processor (or Vitamix) blend beets with a few tablespoons of water. If the puree is smooth, then add a tablespoon or two to create a thicker dye. If puree is too chunky, strain the beet puree by using a sieve over a bowl (glass is usually best for non-staining). The strained beet juice in the bowl is perfect for food coloring.
Use raw beets (2-3). If attached, separate beet roots from beet greens. Peel and trim the beets. Chop beets into small pieces and add to a blender or food processor. Blend until you have a rough pulp. Then, follow Beet Puree directions (above). Use remaining beet pulp in a delicious Beet and Strawberry Heart "BEET" Smoothie.
Boiled Beet Water
Boil down beets for color. Rinse the beets, eliminating all dirt. Cut beets in quarters. Place beets in pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil (med-high heat). Reduce heat. Simmer until beets are tender and there is only a few tablespoons of water left. This dyed water is your food coloring. Using boiled beet water should be the last resort, as the boiled water is more diluted and watery than juiced or pureed beets.
Just Beet It Tip
Because the process may seem time consuming, when creating beet dye, freeze remaining beet dye in covered ice trays for future projects. Enjoy!
What are your favorite ways to include beet dye in your foods or craft projects? I would love to hear from you!