As I mentioned in the Jack-o-Lantern post, I use Seelect natural food coloring for all of my special baking projects. I was so thrilled to find these food colorings. Before I found them I was trying to make my own food coloring, which was fun, but time consuming. For instance, I boiled beets to get a red liquid which, when mixed with my cream cheese frosting, created a nice pink color for Valentine's Day cookies.
I do need to say that if you're expecting natural food coloring to work the same way artificial food coloring works, you will be disappointed. The colors are definitely not as bright, and they don't mix with each other the way the artificial ones do. If you try to mix natural blue and natural yellow, you won't get green. Trust me, I've tried!
But if you are looking for a healthy alternative to artificial food coloring, and are open to a more natural look on your baked goods, you will be very pleased. I've frosted lots of cakes, cupcakes and cookies with natural colors, and they look great and bring joy to my boys' faces, which is what matters most to me. Plus, I know I'm not feeding them chemicals in their birthday desserts!
In my experience, the best Seelect colors are Yellow, Orange, and Red/Blue. I have tried the Blue, but it has always looked like a very dull purple for me. The Red/Strawberry has also turned out too dull for me, looking like a light brownish pink. Yellow is very true yellow and works great. Orange is also very true and I use it a lot in the fall for all my pumpkin-y treats. The Red/Blue doesn't end up looking red, but it does create a pretty darkish, bright purple color (I've found that this one looks prettier if the frosting sits in the fridge overnight). I have yet to try Brown and Red/Pink, but am curious about how they would work. I haven't found a good Green either, though I've tried by boiling spinach and other veggies! Still working on that one...
Over the next couple of months I'll be posting pictures and recipes for a few of the natural food coloring creations that I've done for my boys' birthdays and for other holiday celebrations, so be sure to check back!