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What Is The Types Of Food Coloring?

What are the types of food coloring? Perhaps you thought there was only one. Not all food coloring products are the same. There are three distinct food coloring types you can select to use for a project. Understanding what they offer, the differences and best practices can help you decide. You shouldn’t be intimidated by the variety of items, nor should you assume they all fall under the same umbrella. There are pros and cons of different items I will share with you.

It is important to have choices when it comes to food color. It can help you make decorations, create the right shade of icing or fondant, and save you money. Buying colored frosting or fondant is more expensive than white. When you add coloring yourself, you reap that savings and you are in control. You can get pale shades, bold colors, and everything in between!

Food Coloring Liquid

The product I was first introduced to, and I think most people try, is food coloring liquid. It is easy to use because of the controlled dropper system on most products. When you gently squeeze the tube, a small amount comes out to blend with your fondant or icing. Add more drops for a darker hue. You can mix colors too and create colors that didn’t come in your package.

You can buy individual food coloring liquid colors, or you can get a package that tends to have blue, red, green, and yellow in them. Such products are typically made from a water base and synthetic dyes. It is recommended to read the label to check all the ingredients in a specific product you are interested in before you use it.

Most grocery stores sell food coloring liquid due to its popularity. It tends to be inexpensive and it lasts a long time. You can also shop for it online and have it conveniently delivered to your home. Make sure you put the caps back on tightly after you use food coloring liquid and store them in an upright position. Such items can be stored for a year or two and used when you need them.

The colors tend to be beautiful, and they enhance the look of what you wish to create. The products are simple to work with and offer an array of great colors. It can be a fun way to experiment and decide which colors you ultimately will use for your cake decorating and other projects.

It can take quite a bit of food coloring liquid to get a dark, bold color. I know a few times I underestimated how much I needed, and a tiny bottle didn’t get me the deep blue or bright red I wanted. I have learned Food coloring liquid seems to be a better choice for me when I want lighter, pastel colors than darker ones.


Food Coloring Powder

I baked for years before I learned about food coloring powder. Many professional bakers prefer it to the liquid form. It is easier for them to store as they can stack the jars of colors on top of each other, maximizing storage space. You will find more colors offered, too, than with food coloring liquid. If you don’t want to hassle with mixing colors together to get the desired one you want, this is the way to go.

Food coloring powder, I have discovered, is also more versatile. I do use these products to mix with icing or fondant like I do liquid food coloring. However, I also use it to brush onto cookies and meringue by mixing it with some clear color extract.

A tiny bit of food coloring powder goes a long way! It is very potent and the hue can get dark fast if you use too much of a color at once. Start out with a very small amount and add more if you need to. You can always add more, but if you have too much color from the start, it can be disappointing and the outcome won’t be what you had in mind.

Since you need far less food coloring powder to get a desired color than you do the liquid, it lasts longer. Few grocery stores carry it though, you have to go to specialty stores where they have an array of baking supplies available. You can also order food coloring powder online. You can buy individual colors or a package deal with a variety of great colors included.

The shelf life of food coloring powder is years as long as the lids are on securely. Be careful about how much liquid you add to the powder to create your colors too. In some recipes, the addition of more liquid can change the consistency you want. Adding a few drops of clear color extract is usually enough for the powder to be mixed with successfully.


Gel Food Coloring

I like gel food coloring; it is a mix between a liquid and a powder. You don’t have to mix it with any type of liquid. Yet it isn’t runny like the liquid colors. The gel is thick, and it is going to take longer to completely mix it through your fondant or icing. The appearance is amazing though, the colors are vibrant and appealing.

The synthetic colors are mixed with water and some type of base. Typically, the base will either be corn syrup or glycerin. I add gel food coloring to my products with a toothpick. It is easy enough to scoop out a small amount and then I can toss the toothpick in the trash when I have my desired color.

I don’t make as much of a mess when I use gel food coloring as I do the other two options. When I am in a rush, this is the product I reach for because I can get my color faster and the cleanup is a breeze. I also use gel food coloring when I have a large batch of fondant to color. It takes less of this product than the other two for me to get that large quantity of the color I want.

You don’t want to get the gel on your furniture, your kitchen floor or countertops, or your clothing. It is going to stain, and that is one of the drawbacks. Since it is thick, it stays where you put it and you shouldn’t have too much of an issue of it getting anywhere it shouldn’t be. Plan accordingly and protect your area, always put the lid on as soon as you are done with it so you don’t accidentally create a mess.


Great Tips Working With Any Type Of Food Coloring Product

A few tips to share with you from the start about food coloring products. No matter which you decide to use, start with a small amount. You can add more of it later to get a darker color. Always mix the coloring thoroughly in your icing or fondant. Color a bit more than you think you need, too. You don’t want to be short and then try to make more. Matching that exact same color can be impossible. Mix enough from the start to complete the project you are working on.

Always protect your workspace, food coloring, and gel products can stain. They can be hard to get out of your countertops, off rolling pins, and off the floor if you spill any. I always put down a cheap plastic tablecloth on my counter before I work with coloring. When I am done, I wipe up any coloring with paper towels so it doesn’t spread anywhere else. I reuse my plastic cloth many times before I toss it out and start with a fresh one. This keeps my kitchen looking amazing and it only takes a few minutes to spread it out and put it away after I work with food coloring products.

I wear plastic glue when I work with food coloring products because it can stain the hands too. I learned the hard way, and I was making a cake for a 50th birthday party I planned to attend. I didn’t want to show up with blue-stained hands from the coloring. It took lots of soap and patience to get it off. Now I rely on the gloves and just toss them in the trash when I am finished working with the product.

Don’t compromise when it comes to the quality of the food coloring product you use. Verify the ingredients in the product, and the reputation of the company, and compare prices. The quality of the product will influence how well your finished project turns out. Stick with a company proven to make a great product and they offer it for a reasonable price. Food coloring doesn’t have any taste to it.

The use of these products won’t alter the taste of what you create. They add a delightful and fun way for you to create amazing colors, designs, and attractive cakes or other baked goods! I encourage you to try the different products and see which of them you like the best for the different types of projects you work on.


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