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Are there any techniques which I can use to get the colour of strawberries condensed in a way that doesn't contain the flavour?

I am looking to colour cakes in particular with a more natural alternative to bottled colouring agents without affecting the flavour and thought strawberries might be a good place to start!

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No, strawberries are a bad place to start, they don't have nearly enough color. Try beets or elderberry, but be aware that their red is slightly purplish. –  rumtscho May 17 '12 at 13:09
    
Cochineal is entirely natural and produces a vivid red. It is made from the shells of beetles. –  ElendilTheTall May 17 '12 at 14:51

2 Answers 2

As the comments seem to suggest, making food coloring from strawberries is generally not done because there is not enough red pigment in the strawberries to develop a concentrated red dye.

Food dyes generally need to be really concentrated to provide the coloration without introducing too much liquid(especially in baked goods). It seems unlikely or at least very impractical to concentrate the pigment enough to be useable as food coloring (unless you want a pale pink).

In this article, someone makes a dye from strawberries to dye yarn: http://knitting.about.com/od/dyeingyarn/ss/Dyeing-Yarn-With-Strawberries.htm by boiling strawberries and then simmering for 20 minutes. But the concentration of the dye needed to dye yarn is much less than what would be need to dye cake. The dye would introduce way too much liquid in the cake before it can really dye the cake the vibrant red. It seems likely that if you boil down the strawberry liquid enough, you might be able to produce a dye that gives a light pink but nowhere near the bright red that you seem to want.

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Could get some color into the cake by macerating strawberries in a cake recipe's entire sugar quantity. Strain and weigh the resulting liquid. the additional liquid has to be subtracted from recipe too.

Problem there is that sugar is a good flavor vehicle...

Tomato? There are those crazy old-fashioned red velvet cakes. Could also try beautifully ripe red bellpeppers (chilli peppers work too, ouch) either as a puree or used to stain the recipe's fat/oil/butter.

Nothing above is even close to commercial colors in that consistency or flavor is influenced but maybe you will find a combination that satisfies you. I'm still looking for a natural orange for kids Halloween!

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