How To Make Natural Red Food Coloring That Tastes Good
October, 2015 · By Coryanne Ettiene
Now there is a mouthful of a blog title if ever there was one. There was also “How to make a floral and fruit tea infused syrup”, if I’m honest, blog titles really are mysterious to me, especially since I’m not one to save my words for a rainy day and I have been told to keep them short and sweet. In the end I decided on “How to make natural red food coloring that tastes good” because that is why I recipe tested this holy moly that is really, really good syrup in the first place. I’m working on a recipe for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and wanted an amazing pink buttercream that was made with all natural ingredients, not a hint of red flavor what so ever, and every single recipe I could find online suggest beets. I love beets, simply adore them, but I’m not a fan of them in my buttercream. Perhaps I did not follow the recipe correctly? Who knows, but it left me longing for something that tastes great and turned my butter cream pink.
So I stood in my pantry staring, almost transfixed on what I had on offer while I sipped my new favorite floral herbal, hippy magic fairy dust tea that is meant to make me younger just by brewing it, but I drink it because it tastes amazing; and it hit me. Tea, tea is the key. A little dried rose hip and hibiscus loose tea equals amazing flavor, and then when you add in a few dried berries or cherries for added color, you end up with a red concoction that tastes of all the amazing floral fruity notes that make you ask for more. Or so I hoped. A few too many dried berries and cherries later I learned that they can offer a bitter taste that just lingers in the syrup if they are dried for snacking, and not for tea brewing. In the ideal world there is a dry blend out there that has all of these ingredients, until that happens, this recipe is rather simple to navigate and so easy to make that you will want to make tons of it. Especially with the holidays coming.
This delicate red syrup is so amazing that I have had it in my sparking water for days now, added it to a few cocktails, even baked a cake with it. It appears it is a super syrup (maybe that should have been my blog post title?). I wish I could tell you the name of this tea blend that inspired it all, but I buy it in bulk: a little bit here, a little bit there, and presto, a few of my favorite loose teas blended into one mega brew. But you can by the ingredients at many natural food stores….But even without being able to buy bulk loose tea, you can find so many great loose tea blends at the grocery store ready packaged and play with your store bought blend until you come up with something equally, if not more fabulous. The process is the same, regardless of the “tea” you use. So have fun!
- 1 Tablespoon of dried rose hip
- 1 Tablespoon of dried hibiscus petals
- 1 Tablespoon of dried rose petals
- 1/3 Cup of dried cranberries (the kind you snack on)
- 2 1/2 Cups of water
- 2 Cups of white granulated sugar (you can always use more if you want a sweeter, thicker syrup)
Add the water to a sauce pan and simmer while the water warms. Once warm toss in the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Before adding in the other ingredients, bring it to a rolling boil, not a wild I’m going to boil over kind of heat, but a gentle rolling boil for around 4 minutes; just long enough for the water to thicken and the colors to run. Then turn down the heat to just before the boil, and cook for another 3-5 minutes to thicken it just a bit more. The longer it steeps, the bolder the red, and if you are using this as a natural red food coloring, you really do want to steep it as long as you can so if time allows, drop the temperature down warm and let it sit there a while longer. To finish, and while it is still hot, strain the syrup into a heat safe container and allow it to rest at room temperature until it is cool enough to handle. Seal in an air tight container and keep refrigerate for up to a week.