All Natural Food Dye

It was the third time my AP Japanese teacher had assigned us a sushi cooking project. Wanting to try something new, I decided to make cute Elmo and Cookie Monster sushi (see picture at the bottom). In order to make Elmo red and Cookie Monster blue, I started looking into different ways of dyeing rice. There were some that used food coloring (all artificial, yuck!), and others who bought colored rice from the store. Then, I stumbled on some Asian site that introduced to me the magic of all-natural, non-artificial red cabbage which allowed me to remix prior knowledge with creativity.



  • a quarter of a red cabbage (the more cabbage you add, the darker the food dye)
  • 2-3 cups of water


  1. Boil the water
  2. Cut the red cabbage into strips
  3. Add the strips to a pot of boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes; don’t boil for too long or else the water will taste/ smell like cabbages)
  4. Place a strainer on top of bowl (you want to keep the colored water!) in order to separate the cabbage from the water.

Huzzah, huzzah! You have prepared your very own non-artificial, all-natural bluish purple food dye! To make red food dye, add something acidic (lemon juice, lime juice, etc). To make bluish green food dye, add something basic (baking soda). I added the food dye to rice that was already cooked, but the color was very faint and the rice was very, very wet (I had to microwave it until the steam evaporated). Next time, I’m going to try replacing the water added into the uncooked rice when cooking it with the food dye so that the colors would be cooked into the rice. I used the food dyes to make Elmo and Cookie Monster for my Japanese cooking project! (see image below)




2 thoughts on “All Natural Food Dye”

  1. Oooh! I really enjoy this blog post. I liked your visuals and how you emphasized the colors in your blog text. I will definitely try this once I have all the ingredients at home! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s