Sunday, October 4, 2009

Food Coloring

There are many examples in Little House of the way people did things before "advancements" changed our lives. Take food coloring, for example.

After (Ma) had put the cream in the tall crockery churn and set it near the stove to warm, she washed and scraped a long orange-colored carrot. Then she grated it on the bottom of the old, leaky tin pan that Pa had punched full of nail-holes for Ma. Ma rubbed the carrot across the roughness until she had rubbed it through all the holes, and when she lifted up the pan, there was a soft, juicy mound of grated carrot.

She put this in a little pan of milk on the stove and when the milk was hot she poured milk and carrot into a cloth bag. Then she squeezed the bright yellow milk into the churn, where it colored all the cream. Now the butter would be yellow.

From Little House in the Big Woods in the chapter entitled Winter Days and Winter Nights

It seems so simple and nutritious to use a carrot for the yellow-colored butter! Today, we use artificial food colorings in nearly every food on the market. Yet, studies have shown that these colorings are detrimental to our health. This is just one of hundreds of examples of how our advancements have actually complicated our lives (and risked our health).

So, how can you color foods the natural way? Here are some suggestions:

  • Use beet juice for red or pink. I did this in some store-bought vanilla icing and it works beautifully without compromising taste. I wonder how it would be in a Red Velvet cake?
  • Blueberries make a nice dark juice.
  • Ma's carrot solution for yellow works!
  • Lots of berries would work for purple, like blackberries, mulberries, etc.

Not only do these methods substitute an all-natural ingredient for what could be a very dangerous chemical ingredient, but just think of the added nutrition that beets, carrots, and blueberries add to your diet!

There are many, many natural solutions to every day living that we have forgotten, or maybe we didn't even know. Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy are two wonderful references for self-sufficiency and natural solutions. If you've never read them, or it's been too long, why not read them today?

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