When making a dish, a good portion of the flavor and appearance are dependent on the color. Fortunately, there are many natural food dye alternatives to artificial red colorings, including beet powder, hibiscus flowers and cranberries. These alternatives will not produce the same vibrant results as a boxed food coloring, but they are still suitable for use.
Natural colors can be sourced directly from nature or created in the laboratory by a chemist. Those that are sourced from nature (naturally-derived) are usually water-soluble, while those created in the lab (naturally-identical) are often oil-soluble.
In general, natural foods are healthier than processed foods. However, some people are sensitive to even natural food colors and may experience an allergic reaction. Therefore, it is important to read labels carefully and make sure that a food coloring doesn’t contain allergens such as carmine (derived from insects) or cochineal extract.
If you would like to avoid any potential allergies, try using a food coloring made from fruit and vegetable extracts instead of synthetic ingredients. Aside from being shelf stable and easy to use, these natural food dyes are also a great source of nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium.
Another option for a natural red food dye is to use pomegranate seeds as a substitute. All you have to do is add 1 1/2 cups of pomegranate seeds and a cup of water into a pot and boil the mixture for about 15 minutes, then strain it for further use. Pomegranate juice has a tart taste, so it is recommended to sweeten the mix with some sugar before adding it into any recipe.Natural Red Food Colors