Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I buy Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
Color Garden is available in Sprouts® mainly located in the south and the western states. Visit www.sprouts.com for a detailed list of the stores and where they are they are located.
Color Garden® is also available in Whole Foods® in the North East, Mid Atlantic, and Northern California areas.
If you can’t find Color Garden® pure natural food colors in your local natural/organic grocery store. You can always come shopping at www.colorgarden.net or place an email order at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Are Color Garden® pure natural food colors safe for human consumption?
Yes. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are approved for use in foods by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as color additives exempt from certification under regulations codified at 21 CFR 73. Your mother was right: you should’ve gone to law school.
3. How are Color Garden® pure natural food colors different from artificial colors?
All artificial colors are petroleum distillates or “coal tar dyes.” Color Garden® pure natural food colors are derived solely from fruits and vegetables. They are 100% plant-based.
4. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors stain my children’s tongue, teeth, clothing, or favorite stuffed animals?
No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are 100% plant-based and will easily wash out with mild soap and water. If by chance a small stain remains, all pure natural food colors will be destroyed by bleach. Always use diluted sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) and be careful around all colored fabrics – bleach eats natural colors!
5. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors change the flavor of my food or beverage?
No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors will not contribute any flavor, mouth feel, or nutrition to your foods and beverages.
6. How much Color Garden® pure natural food colors should I add?
Color Garden® pure natural food colors were designed to use one entire pouch per 1 lb. of icing. Icing is one of the most common uses for Color Garden® pure natural food colors. These colors are 100% plant based and will oxidize quickly when opened, so we suggest using the entire pouch. You may find you want to add more than pouch, so keep more pouches until you get the visual appearance you want.
7. Are there any known allergens inside Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are allergen free. However, if you or your child has food allergies, particularly to fruits and vegetables, here is a comprehensive list of the ingredients we use:
Purple Carrot Juice
Red Cabbage Juice
8. Are Color Garden® pure natural food colors bake stable?
No. Color Garden® pure natural food colors will likely “bake out” and turn brown in the oven. We have had limited success (1) lowering oven temperature to 250°F, (2) decreasing the density of the cake by using a one inch deep baking tray, and (3) increasing the bake time. Under these conditions, we have been able to bake “slightly reddish - orange velvet cake.” Good luck!
9. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors mix directly into butter?
Yes and no. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are water-based and water soluble. They will not remain dispersed in the fat of butter without an emulsifier or other water containing ingredient. Our buttercream icing recipe contains milk or cream to help with emulsifying the color. If not making buttercream but want to color straight butter, you can use soy lecithin (available at many online natural products stores) or, simply add liquid egg whites (we recommend always using pasteurized eggs). Both ingredients are strong emulsifiers that will hold Color Garden® pure natural food colors in the fat of the butter - yummy.
10. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors glow in the dark?
No. Color Garden® Pure natural foods colors are not fluorescent and will not glow in the dark. They also will not glow under the UV “black light” of a bar, dance club, or bowling alley.
11. Will eating Color Garden® pure natural food colors cause my child’s behavior to change? Will his appetite change? Will his attentiveness change?
No. We offer Color Garden® pure natural food colors as an alternative to the artificial colors that, for some children, present behavioral challenges. Some physicians note behavioral changes in children when they consume artificial colors, artificial preservatives, or some combination thereof. Visit the Feingold Association (Chicago, IL) at www.feingold.org for more information on this and other related topics.
12. Can I color sugar with Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
Yes. Remember that Color Garden® pure natural food colors are water soluble. If you add too much too quickly you will dissolve the sugar crystals. Go slowly and have fun. You can make “homemade” sprinkles.
13. Will Color Garden® pure natural food colors fade after a couple of days?
Yes. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are sensitive to light and will fade after several hours of direct full sunlight exposure. Store light and indoor house light typically cause Color Garden® pure natural food colors to fade in a couple of days. It is best to ice your cake, cupcakes, or cookies the same day you intend to eat them.
14. Do I have to store Color Garden® pure natural food colors in the refrigerator?
No. You can, if you want to, but you do not have to. Color Garden® pure natural food colors are packaged to be shelf-stable for one year in your pantry provided you do not open the plastic packet. Once opened, Color Garden® pure natural food colors should be used within a day and consumed within a couple of days.
15. Is citric acid an ingredient in all your Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
No. We only use citric acid in the Color Garden® natural red color. Our natural red color is a blend of beet juice (red at any pH) and purple carrot (red at an acidic pH only, otherwise it is blue). Thus, the citric acid helps the purple carrot become red, so that we are mixing one shade of red from the beet juice with another shade of red from the acidified purple carrot juice. None of the other Color Garden® pure natural food colors contain citric acid.
16. Why do you add ethyl alcohol to Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
Color Garden® natural colors are extracted from fruits and vegetables. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you capture natural colors and residual sugars. Of course, you also capture a lot of water. Whenever you mix water and sugar, bacteria will grow. Thus, we add less than one percent ethyl alcohol to retard the growth of any bacteria that might have survived the extraction process.
17. What is the underlying source of the ethyl alcohol?
The ethyl alcohol is made from sugar cane. Thus, the ethyl alcohol is Non-GMO as are all the other ingredients we use in Color Garden® pure natural food colors.
18. Why is Color Garden® pure natural food colors packaged in single-use, transparent plastic packages?
Our initial consumer panels shared that they “just assumed” all food colors were shelf-stable and would last for years in the pantry. In fact, several consumers in our initial consumer panels suggested we package Color Garden® pure natural colors in small one ounce eye-dropper bottles just like the artificial colors! This is not prudent for two good reasons: (1) natural colors are not as strong as artificial colors - consumers may be upset when several drops of natural color does not color with the same vibrancy compared to one or two drops of artificial colors; and (2) consumers will be very upset when they reach for a one-year old bottle of natural color and discover it has turned brown and moldy - yuck!! The only clever way we could think of to insure a one-year shelf-life of Color Garden natural colors was to package them in single-use packets. This way a consumer can use only one packet [designed to color one pound of icing] and the other four packets in the box remain unopened. We selected clear, transparent, food grade plastic so that consumers could see the actual product.
19. Why do you use caramel color in Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
We use caramel color in the Color Garden® natural orange color only. Caramel color is available in four classes: I, II, III, and IV. Class I caramel color is literally burnt sugar. It can be made on a stove-top burner. On the other hand, Class II, Class III, and Class IV caramel colors are all made with chemical catalysts that increase the speed of the Maillard Reaction – a non-enzymatic browning reaction in foods. Class I caramel color is considered “natural” because it is burnt sugar. Class II, Class III, and Class IV caramel colors are not considered natural because they are all made with chemical catalysts. Color Garden® natural orange color uses a Class I caramel color.
20. Can I dye Easter Eggs with Color Garden?
Yes. You can dye Easter Eggs, but using natural colors require specific instructions. Hard boil your Easter eggs and follow the instructions below.
1. Place 4 oz. of cool water in an 8-oz. cup.
2. Place entire contents of desired color packet into the water and stir well.
3. Repeat this process for all colors you desire to use.
Ready to Color
1. Gently pick up an egg with a spoon and put into the colored water. The colored water should cover the egg. Let the egg soak for 10 minutes or longer for the best results. The longer you soak the egg the darker the color you will achieve.
2. Carefully remove the egg from the colored water with a spoon and place on a drying rack or paper towel without touching the egg. * Let eggs completely dry before touching them*
Natural colors do not stain; therefore, eggs must be completely dry before being handled. Once eggs are dry the eggs can be handled and moved but note that the color will come off if the egg is washed or comes in contact with water.
21. Who created the finished cakes and cookies on your website?
We are indebted to self-taught pastry chef Megan Gaasch of Orange, CA. She created the wonderful cakes and cookies displayed on our website. She also crafts all the cakes and cookies for our trade shows. She is a very talented pastry chef. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @colorgardendyes for more tips and uses for Color Garden® pure natural food colors.
22. What is the expected shelf-life of Color Garden® pure natural food colors?
Color Garden® pure natural food colors are formulated to last for one (1) year from the date of manufacture. A best before date is labeled on the outside of each box. If color comes out of the packet a muddy brown or grey depending on the color then it has reached the end of its life and should be discarded.