Food Coloring: The Complete Guide

Food coloring is like a science. There are important things to note regarding how to use coloring, how to care for it, and how to ensure that you are using it to its fullest extent. However, have fun with it. Food coloring can be used in so many different ways, and each way has its own exciting twists. After all, coloring foods, beverages, icings, and more has a special way of brightening your day and bringing a smile to your face. 

Food Coloring: The Complete Guide
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How to Use and Store Food Coloring

Using food coloring might seem like a self-explanatory task, but there are a few important things to note. For example, if you are searching for food coloring gel, it is important to understand how to store it, utilize it in your recipes, and get the most out of the product.

Food coloring is a shelf-stable product that is the perfect consistency and texture at room temperature. It is best to store food coloring in cool, dry, and dark places like the back of your kitchen cabinets or at the top of your pantry. Making sure that all of the lids are on tightly and securely is one way to extend the life of your food coloring and get the most out of it. You want to ensure that the colors are not being exposed to air, or else you risk them drying up. Bottles should be standing straight up, and this is easiest to accomplish when they are stored in a box or storage bin. 

Flipping the bottle upside down when it gets low is a foolproof way to make sure you get every last drop of the product. Another way to get every last bit is using a toothpick to scrape it out. Remember to never add water or other liquids to your food coloring in an attempt to thin it out because this will result in a less effective formula that could ruin the texture, taste, or appearance of your frosting or candy. 

Knowing how to mix colors properly is another important tidbit of knowledge to have. If you are going for a beautiful pastel buttercream, a few drops of your desired color should do the trick when mixed with this white delicacy. However, if you are going for more vibrant colors, don’t be afraid to add a few more drops in order to reach the shade you are hoping for. 

When opting for a dark-colored frosting or cake, start off with a darker base such as chocolate so you can save on the coloring and use less. It is difficult to achieve really dark colors with lighter bases, but it is not impossible. 

Following the guidelines of a basic color wheel can help you achieve any color you are going for. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. If you have these colors, you can make any of the secondary colors, including orange, green, and purple. Once you have achieved these, the options are endless, and you can create any tertiary color your mind can think of.

Be sure to test your coloring on a small bit of frosting or batter to ensure you achieve the perfect shade and discover the correct ratio prior to mixing it all. 

The Types of Food Coloring

There are three main types of food coloring to familiarize yourself with. These types include gel-based, oil-based, and powdered. Which type works best for you depends entirely on what you plan to make. Using high-quality colorings makes a huge difference in the outcome of your baked goods, foods, and frostings. Each of the types of food coloring serves entirely different purposes and can be used in a number of different ways. 

For example, gel-based food coloring is the best-known type of food coloring, and it comes in small bottles filled with thick gel-like liquid. The texture of this coloring resembles that of corn syrup. This is the most concentrated type of food coloring, and it is the perfect option for those looking for something with a strong color that won’t change the consistency of icings and cake batters.

Oil-based coloring, on the other hand, is perfect for coloring chocolate. This type of coloring is specifically formulated to mix with other oil-based products such as candy, chocolate, and confectioner’s sugar. These colors are great for mixing and creating your own oil-based color for unique candies. 

Lastly, there is powdered coloring. This type of food coloring is simply a dye that comes in powder form. It works best for situations in which moisture can cause issues. For example, some baked goods are sensitive to excess moisture, making powdered coloring the perfect alternative. These colorings are often lighter colors than the other types when they are first mixed, but the colors can darken over time and become more vibrant. 

Fun Ideas Involving Food Coloring

There are many fun ways to utilize food coloring in and out of the kitchen. However, what is a more fun way to entertain guests and children and get into the holiday spirit than by creating colorful and tasty masterpieces? The options are endless, and there are so many fun ideas available online. Some of these ideas include “color” velvet cakes and cupcakes. Who said that the “velvet” cakes had to stop at red?

Another fun idea that you can partake in for holiday celebrations is colorful polka dot cakes and pastel-dyed deviled eggs. Some more unique ways to utilize food coloring include preparing homemade rainbow popsicles, baking colorful bread, and creating vibrant skewers for grilling and parties. You can dye mashed potatoes, create artsy marshmallows by drawing faces and designs on them, make fluffy, colorful meringues for pies, and create an assortment of dyed candies. All of these ideas are a great way to brighten up your day, put a smile on your guests' faces, and interact with children. 

With the help of some food coloring, you can partake in some memorable experiments with the kids, too. Some of these include making wonderful blobs of colored slime, glow-in-the-dark ice cubes with tonic water and a black light, dyed eggs for holidays like Easter, and even tie-dyed clothing. Food coloring can also be used as a safe and temporary way to color hair, but beware: it lasts for up to four weeks. If your goal is to add some color to your meals and desserts or involve the children in a fun activity, there are numerous science experiments as well as exciting cooking adventures in which you can use food coloring, so why leave these fun products in the kitchen?

Ready for a Colorful Experience?

Food coloring, like any other cooking or baking product, has its own list of tips, tricks, and how-to instructions. With a better understanding of which food coloring you need for your colorful project, get ready to create some beautiful cooking masterpieces or interesting educational memories for the children. This product is a simple way to add some color to your life, your food, and your activities with the children. It is no doubt food coloring has made the world of baked goods more exciting, but the fun does not have to stop there. 

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