Good food involves all your senses and not just your tongue. The visual appeal of food is undeniable, which is why chefs spend hours trying to think about the perfect way of plating food. Adding food coloring to some dishes is just another way of making the food look more appetizing.
The right food color can also act as a preservative and increase the shelf life of some kinds of food. However, you need to consider factors like food coloring expiration and take some other precautions while using it in your dishes. Here are some points to help you use them with care.
1. Licensed and Approved
If you are concerned about the health of your family members and what goes into the dishes, you should check out FDA and similar food authority websites to find which food colors are permissible. Synthetic food colors have to meet FDA approval before they can make it to the shelves, still, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of some food colors.
Some colors like Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, Red 40, and Yellow 5, among others, have been touted as unsafe when used in food beyond a specific quantity. Studies have shown that constant exposure to such food colors could lead to tumors, allergies, and even some types of cancer.
2. Choosing Plant-Based Food Colors
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you are using food colors safely in your dishes is to use colors made from plant sources. Many plants have natural dyes, and the color is derived from the peels of certain fruits and vegetables, which are high in natural pigments.
Of course, the plants still undergo a certain level of processing as the color has to be made suitable for commercial purposes. Even then, the risks of using these colors are far fewer than using colors made from chemical sources. The body can break down natural food colors much more efficiently, and you do not risk health issues with them as much.
3. Using Less Processed Items
Processed food like candies, chips, and gummies look pleasing to the eye, but they are often loaded with sugar. They have meager nutritional value and have high calories. The food colors only make these unhealthy food items look more delicious and attractive. The idea is to use less processed items in your dishes so that you can keep food coloring use to a minimum.
Some types of dishes, especially desserts like cakes and pastries, use food colors in high quantities. Fondants use food color in optimum amounts, and they are used for making attractive cake toppers. It is ideal to use natural dyes while making desserts and using as few as processed items to make the dish seem appealing.
4. Expired Food Colors
Most importantly, it would help if you were mindful of food coloring expiration when using them in your food items. Food colors too have a shelf life, and once the expiry date has passed, the color becomes unhealthy for us. The chemicals in the food coloring start concentrating, and it can also lead to food poisoning.
The dyes can also cause allergies, and you might find symptoms like nausea after consuming the food. Always, check the labels to assure that the food coloring is well within the use date and discard any leftover colors as soon as the expiry date has passed.
By bearing points in mind, you will be able to use a certain amount of food coloring in your food without giving rise to any significant health risks. Using the colors with caution will make your food tasty and pleasing to the eye at the same time.