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Many of these recipes will flavor the final outcome. Since you don’t want your sweets tasting like, say, broccoli or spinach, opt for avocado in icing and other sweets. Look for foods that complement each other nicely, such as potatoes with parsley, broccoli, or spinach.
Because you will need a larger amount of natural coloring than conventional dyes, the liquid coloring will affect the texture of the dish. Use less of other liquids until you have achieved the color that you want, at which point, you may wish to add more liquid if necessary.
To avoid the food coloring issue entirely, give the illusion of green foods by setting a green table—use green flowers, napkins, centerpieces, décor, and naturally green foods (like peas, kiwis, green grapes, lime slices, or lettuce.) Sprinkle green herbs over savory foods, or cook greenies right into them.
Mash, process, or otherwise obliterate half an avocado. (Yes, please peel it first.) This will lightly color a cup or two of frosting or a similar white substance. Avocado has an understated flavor, so it won’t dominate the dish. Think of it as a culinary wallflower.
Puree 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen spinach. Boil it in 4 cups of water and then simmer for several hours. When it is concentrated, strain out the spinach—it’s the liquid you want. Add the concentrate to your recipe. Avocado will work as well.
Repeat the process above, but do not strain out the original food. Instead, press it through a sieve or otherwise grind the final result to get it as smooth as possible.
Soak pistachios in water. (Don’t use dyed pistachios, but rather those that have opened and greened naturally.) Grind them to make a faintly tinted paste you can add to desserts. Sounds like the makings of pistachio ice cream to me!
Sprinkle chlorella, spirulina, or a more suitably flavored green product into the recipe. Might I recommend parsley, especially stale, finely ground parsley?
Boil the skins from several red onions in a cup or two of water. Simmer until the water is the color you want. Some people get brown instead of green. Why doesn’t this make red? Good question. You should have your children research that.
Boil any green food substance in a cup or so of water for 20-30 minutes. Strain it and use the green water in place of the liquid in your recipe. For example, boil broccoli and make rice using the green liquid instead of water or stock.
Make the green liquid as just described. Soak or simmer potato slices or another white absorbent food in the liquid until it is tinted green. (This hasn’t worked for me, but others have had success with it. Salting may encourage a better transfer process.)
If your recipe calls for milk, simmer spinach, avocado, parsley, whatever, in milk until it turns green. Don’t get distracted! Milk burns easily and must be stirred and kept over a low heat.
Remember kindergarten? Neither do I. But I do remember that yellow and blue make green. Make blue food coloring by boiling red cabbage. Add a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to turn it from violet to blue. Then add yellow in the form of stale turmeric or saffron…or yellow cake.
Please be aware that when you make your own food coloring, you will not achieve the same brilliant green you get from store-bought dyes. Even most of the natural dyes on the market will not result in a brilliant green.
Because you are using natural products which are not uniform (naturally), your results will vary dramatically each time from “not bad” to “not happening.”