Pure Randomness!

Pure Randomness!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Colour me pink

I love food, but I don't like food which looks too coloured as alarms start ringing in my head the moment I see the colour. When we go out to restaurants where they serve coloured food I make sure that I specify not to add any colour while I place the order itself. So I am too scared to use colour in my cooking as well, as I keep hearing about the carcinogenic chemicals in the colours. So when I see a recipe with colour in it, I usually skip the colour and end up with something inferior to the expected result. The colour does matter.
So I decided to make some colour of my own and the first thing came to my mind was beetroot. Next time I went out shopping, I got myself half a kg of beetroot. Then it sat in the fridge for quite some days. One day I took it out and then it sat at my kitchen counter for days enough to make them sprout.

When I showed the sprouted beets to Shyam, he wanted to plant them in the garden.

I gave him the sprouts and peeled and cut the beets into cubes which I fed into my food processor.

My ancient processor took almost 10 minutes to get a paste out of it. I filtered the paste to get the juice out. I got a cup of juice from the 3 beets.

I can't add that directly to any recipe without altering the water content in the recipe, which matters quite a bit when it comes to baking. So I heated the juice to get as much water out as possible. I reduced the juice  to 1/4th cup, but then I started seeing black marks at the back of the spoon and got a little worried that I might get all the pink pigment in the beet juice to turn black by boiling it too much.

Then I decided to dry it the way I do with certain other stuff (like sweetened ginger mush left over from making ginger lemon syrup), shove it into the fridge uncovered. There it sat for a week as I traveled for a few days and when I was back I got something I could call a paste. I decided to store that in the same vessel as moving it would mean losses and after seeing the amount of colour paste I got from my half a kg of beet I dint want to lose any.

In the meanwhile the beet sprouts which Shyam has planted have grown to a nice size.

The idea was to use this colour and make something before I write up this blog. But I don't know when I will end up doing that and I just don't feel like waiting. I have a few ideas in my head, like making some sprinkles with the colour and also a checkerboard cake. But thinking about the effort involved, I just don't feel like starting either of them. Let it be for tomorrow.

In case you feel adventurous enough to try this, do wear gloves while handling the beets especially if you are looking forward to attending that party in the evening, as they stain very badly. Wear an apron too as I do not know what will happen to beet stain on clothes. I dint wear one, but I couldn't figure out what happens to beet stain luckily and very uncharacteristically for me, as I dint stain my clothes. Use steel vessels as the staining part is true for  porcelain or plastic vessels too, not just clothes.
In case you do it let me know of the results and also what you did with the colour.


  1. Wow, what an amazing blog and post. I absolutely loved the pictures. I hate food colour that's artificial. it makes my alarm bells start ringing and i lose the interest to eat.this was worth knowing about :)

  2. This is a novel experiment, first time I am hearing about this easy process of using beet color for foods!. Wow! Thanks. As I am reading your experiment, I am already ticking in my head , how I can make some good potato fry using this color, good Cauliflower , good chicken ( for the NV family). I can even use it in the fruit cake! Wonderful!

    Thanks. Looking forward to your further post, meanwhile, I am going to shop for beet roots.:-)

    1. wew, I am really not sure I want to eat pink cauliflower or for that matter pink chicken :) Fruit cake would be a good idea indeed.

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