I'm going to attempt a Sage Derby this weekend. I want to stain the large curd with green on the outside so that it has a marbled look after pressing. What could I use to soak the curd in and get the best results? Spinach juice was suggested but I'm wondering if their are better options? I saw another post here with some suggestions but it didn't really have any good answers specifically about green. It's going to have to be a very hardy, dark green to have any affect on the curd.

  • Recipes for sage derby suggest using the sage itself as a colouring - what forbids that? Mar 10, 2017 at 12:51
  • It won't dye the outside of the curd. I've tried steeping it in the past and soaking the curd in the juices but it wasn't enough to give it a marbled affect. Mar 10, 2017 at 12:56
  • 2
    oh ok ... could one separate a part of the curd, blend it with actual pureed sage, and slather it on? Mar 10, 2017 at 13:40
  • 4
    Other foods high in chlorophyll, as in spinach, are algae, seaweed, wheatgrass, spirulina. I've not used any to dye, hence the comment, although I have dyed eggs (the hard-boiled shells) with spinach water. Here's an interesting article explaining how to achieve various depths of colour.
    – Giorgio
    Mar 10, 2017 at 13:43
  • There are easy methods of extracting the pure (ish) chlorophyll from spinach juice. This might give you a more intense dye
    – canardgras
    Mar 10, 2017 at 14:14

2 Answers 2


If you have access to dried sage, or even can dry your own, dusting the curd with ground powder will give a much stronger color (and flavor) than sage juice - a light and silvery green, but something. This can be supplemented with any other green herb or leaf (powdered) whose flavor and color complements, and coated thickly for stronger marbling effect - the moisture in the curd will hydrate the powder so the texture is smooth, but the paste will be concentrated around the edges of the curd pieces much more so than a juice, and marble very clearly.

Otherwise, the juices Dorothy mentioned, spinach, spirulina, algae, seaweed, wheatgrass, should all color green fairly well. If the color isn't to your liking, you might try a more concentrated version of the dye - maybe reducing the juice until quite dark and thick. Most simple juices are rather dilute, so they can't color even as strongly as they can if concentrated.

Powder will, again, likely give a stronger color than just soaking in juice (which is, by nature, diluted), but also a stronger flavor - not necessarily a negative, but something to keep in mind. I have seen powdered chlorella algae and powdered spinach sold specifically as natural green food coloring (dark and light, respectively), so they can certainly be used for this purpose... and the recipes' pictures include sweets, not just savories, so the flavor might perhaps not be too overwhelming if used carefully even with a bright color.


I ended up finding Chlorella algae at a local health food store in powder form. Dusting the curd before pressing worked out perfectly. I held back about 1/3 of the curd so that some marbling would be apparent from the outside. I can't wait to cut this open in a few months!

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.