Natural Colors Info

Liquid Color Reactions ph of colors

Choosing and Using

CHOCOLATE CRAFT COLORS Liquids, Paste or Water & Oil Powders

These natural food colorings are made from beets, annatto, spinach, carrots, cabbage, turmeric, saffron, combined with plant glycerine and or maltodextrine from plants. They are vegan, dairy and wheat free and do not contain soy or any artificial ingredients. All have their own particular personalities and slightly different tones.  Mix them together to get different shades of colors just like any other colorings or paint.  If the black need additional coloring, try adding either a little blue or little green to take away a brown tone.  Add a little orange to beet color (pink/red) to make it more of a holiday or bright red.  Add base ingredients like baking soda to make a coloring more blue and less pink.

Natural colorants are affected by heat - hot temperatures like baking and boiling will cause them to fade and brown - they are, after all, made from natural vegetables. For example, to achieve the brightest red tone for a red velvet cake make the product in a shape that will bake at the lowest temperature and for the shortest time. Sometimes combining types or colors will provide the desired intensity or stability. Combine colors to get different shades just as you would with paint. When using liquid colors or water based powders add them to water first, if possible, or to the most neutral water based product in the mix. Powders need to be added to liquid or moistened in liquid before adding to other ingredients, and may take a minute or two to fully disperse and bloom to maximum color. 

Either liquids or powders will work to color modeling chocolate, which has both oil and water ingredients.  Plain chocolate, like couverture or coating will seize if you add liquid colors and speckle if you add water based powders.  Only the colors in the "for chocolate" section are recommended to color melted regular chocolate.

Natural Liquid Colors

• are concentrates and provide the most intensity for the lowest price; work well in icings and most products except chocolate.

• will add only a small amount of liquid to your product

• should be refrigerated and used within six months or carefully (glass bottles) frozen to maintain freshness. Natural vegetable colors degrade over time, just like the vegetables they are made from.  Keep the bottles clean and free of contamination from other foods.

• will not blend with oil based products (like fat or pure chocolate and coatings)


Natural Paste Colors

• provide the most intensity with the very least additional moisture

• work well in icings, macaroons and most products except chocolate.

• will not blend with oil based products (like straight butter or pure chocolate and coatings

• should be refrigerated or frozen and used within six months.

• are very thick and may need to be blending with a small amount of ingredient first, then added to the rest of the batch.

Natural Water Based Powder Colors

• have a long shelf life and may be stored at cool room temperature for 3 months or up to a year in a refrigeration

• may be added to oil based products but will not fully dissolve, some colors adding more speckling than others, 

• can be lightly moistened with alcohol or egg white and used as a paint ( as one customer, Karen, shows in her blog )

• they also can cause thickening in oil based products and add some stickiness to pastes and doughs when a large amount is used to create deep colors

• some have a starch base of maltodextrin, so may be less potent per ounce than the liquids (yellow and orange in particular).

• for best coloring -  dissolve in a water based iquid and "bloom" for a minute before adding to any heavy ingredients.

Natural Oil Based Powder Colors

• are most expensive per ounce and also have good intensity, similar to liquids

• are finer than the water powders and do not have a starch base

• blend well with oil based products like chocolate and butter without speckling.

• do not blend well with water only products like juices.

• have a long shelf life and may be stored at cool room temperature for 3 months or up to a year in a refrigeration

• to use - sprinkle the powder directly into the melted chocolate and stir gently.

Using Natural Coloring

Natural colors react to PH, temperature, exposure to light and other natural conditions. Changes depend on what the particular color is made from and how it is processed.

How are Natural Colors Affected by PH?

PH is explained as a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. ON the PH scale 7 is the middle, or neutral, and as the numbers get higher the PH gets more base. Numbers less than 7 indicate acidic products - as the numbers get lower the acidity is greater.

Some basic decorating ingredients and materials are listed here with their PH values. The least acid, or most alkaline ingredient is egg white and the most acid ingredients are butter and corn syrup.

The chart Liquid Color Reactions shows six basic liquid colors added to cake decorating staples: modeling chocolate, simple buttercream and royal icing with and without acid (tartaric acid or lemon juice). The blue and green colorants are made from cabbage, yellow from turmeric, red from beets, orange from annatto and purple from red cabbage. (Spinach green is not represented in the picture as it is more stable).

When combined with the least acidic and most alkaline product, royal icing without cream of tartar or other acid (just egg whites and powdered sugar), the blue has a greenish, almost teal tone, the yellow becomes almost orange, the green is emerald and the purple maintains the blue tone.

When combined with the most acidic product, simple buttercream (butter and powdered sugar) the blue has a lighter and slightly grey tone, the yellow becomes more intensely yellow, the green is a brown tinge and the purple turns pink.

This is good information to use when adding color to a mix. The final PH of the mix may change the tone of the color. Hot cooking temperatures can turn color brown and light can cause them to change and fade.

Coloring Eggs

Put 1/4 cup hot water into a small, stable bottomed container.  Add 1/2 tsp of color powder to each cup.  Stir gently to dissolve.  For deeper colors add more powder to any of the colors.  Add 1 teaspoon vinegar to the red.

Gently put the eggs into the colored water. You might roll them a bit with a fork to color evenly.  Use a fork or spoon to carefully take them out of the liquid and put gently on an egg carton or paper to dry.  

Modeling Chocolate Info