Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up quickly and making natural green food coloring will let you skip the artificial colors in some of your festive desserts. While I could care less about the color of my cookie frosting, it seems somehow wrong of me to deny my children green frosted cupcakes and cookies during our celebrations of all things Irish. I decided to try playing around with ways to make natural green food coloring so my kids can enjoy their green desserts. Of course, the first thing I do is head to the internet to do some research. I come across a couple of ideas that sound plausible. One says to juice kale or spinach and use the juice to dye your frosting. Well, I do have a juicer but did not think it could handle greenery so I started with method number two which was WAY more complicated! I will just tell you right now that I made the wrong choice! Here is a brief rundown of my attempts to make natural green food coloring:
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Natural Green Food Coloring: The Boiling Method
Summary: Long, involved, smells up the entire house and does NOT result in green colored frosting!
Basically, puree an entire head of kale with 4 to 5 cups water and then spend several hours simmering it on the stove to concentrate it. After extensive filtering and chilling and yet MORE filtering, I ended up with something rather nasty looking. Not only does it smell bad it also did NOT turn my frosting green, no matter how much of that darn stuff I put in there!
Natural Green Food Coloring: The Juicing Method
Summary: Incredibly easy, you need only a few handfuls of greenery to get enough juice to dye your frosting and there is NO bad stink in my house. Honestly, my husband wanted to open windows in January after having boiled kale for 3 hours in my kitchen! Now, the drawback to this method is that you have to have a pretty decent juicer. I have a stainless steel one and it complained a bit if my handfuls of leafy greens were too big. However, I recommend everyone get a good juicer anyhow because fresh juices are extremely healthy and really tasty as well!
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Instructions: Simple! Just assemble the juicer, put in the greenery and turn on! I used a combination of kale and baby spinach. Now, I was a little bit worried at first because you don’t get a lot of juice out of greens:
I probably used about a total of 3 to 4 cups of packed greens and had plenty to die my batch of frosting. If you want to make your frosting homemade (very easy and you skip all that artificial junk!) Here is what you do:
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Natural green food coloring as described above.
Sugar Cookies with Natural Green Food Coloring
Now, a couple of quick notes about this frosting: If you eat it by itself you can taste a little bit of a difference when compared to plain frosting. It isn’t as obvious if you are actually eating it on a cookie. Also, the kale juice thins out the frosting. If you need to thicken it more, just add extra powdered sugar. Also, because this is a NATURAL green food coloring, I am not sure how long it will stay the color in the photo! Mine has been sitting several hours and is still fine but if you are worried, add the kale juice right before you need to frost and serve.
So, now you can skip the little tiny tubes and use natural green food coloring for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own, you can actually buy India Tree Natural Decorating Colours instead.
Have any suggestions for other colors I can make with natural products?
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.