Colorants you can grow (or that grow in your country)

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Fenchurch

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Hi there!
following the "dangers of micas" thread, and based on my personal wish to use as local ingredients as possible and/or of fair trade origin, I would like to know if you have experimented colorants that can grow in your countries. I can also extend my constraints to edible tropical things, as I do eat bananas or avocado for instance (that does not make them possible colorants though).
I'm mostly interested in non-tropical stuff though, as I'm in France.

I've tried:
* carrot, curcuma for orange hues.
Curcuma works well but even well mixed in oils tends to give tiny particles in the soap.
Carrot juice is cool and gives a yellowish hue, but I don't know how it behaves if in greater quantities.
I also red about paprika...
Any ideas?

* spirulina for green
I used spirulina specks and they both coloured in greenish-blueish hues and gave particles in the final soap.
I also read some of you use matcha and parsley...

I have ideas for red (red bell pepper? red cochineal - how in the heck can I harvest them if they are numerous enough in my garden to begin with?)
and for brown (coffee, cocoa...)
but for blue? Indigo isn't grow here, and I can only rely on organic crops to be fair trade... and again, that doesn't fix the "local" issue...
and for white? I used white clay but... well it's not white at all in soap, it's kind of grayish...

Sorry if there's already a thread about that, when I searched I only found "natural" coloring, including oxydes etc. regardless of the growth location.

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and experiments...

happy bubbles!
Stéphanie
 
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ImpKit

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So heirloom carrots can grow in purple colors. I've never used them for cooking or anything but if you can get the seeds, or find a local market that carries them, you could try to juice them and see if you could get a purple color. Or even... can you DRY carrots and then run them through a powderizer of some kind?

As for red... tomato maybe? Can paprika be cultivated in France? That can apparently be used to infuse olive oil and probably is a nice red.

Blue... it'd be more purple-blue than blue-blue but what about blueberry juice?
 
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Fenchurch

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So heirloom carrots can grow in purple colors. I've never used them for cooking or anything but if you can get the seeds, or find a local market that carries them, you could try to juice them and see if you could get a purple color. Or even... can you DRY carrots and then run them through a powderizer of some kind?
I don't know what heirloom carrots are, I'll have a look.
I'll try to powderize carrots! :)

As for red... tomato maybe? Can paprika be cultivated in France? That can apparently be used to infuse olive oil and probably is a nice red.
I very doubt it for tomatoes, as I see how my gazpacho is very very light red...
I can grow crocus and saffron (but hell, the quantity needed would make me a billionaire or something I guess ^^ )

Blue... it'd be more purple-blue than blue-blue but what about blueberry juice?
Well I'm afraid it'll turn to a sad brownish colour...

Thanks for you inputs, ImpKit! :thumbs:

Happy bubbles!
Stéphanie
 

ImpKit

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So heirloom carrots can grow in purple colors. I've never used them for cooking or anything but if you can get the seeds, or find a local market that carries them, you could try to juice them and see if you could get a purple color. Or even... can you DRY carrots and then run them through a powderizer of some kind?

As for red... tomato maybe? Can paprika be cultivated in France? That can apparently be used to infuse olive oil and probably is a nice red.

Blue... it'd be more purple-blue than blue-blue but what about blueberry juice?
Apparently you CAN make a powder from blueberries, whether frozen or dried. Maybe that could be used to infuse an olive (or other) oil for a blue or purple color. And then maybe clays can be used to adjust the color. If it works it might also work with, say, raspberries for a reddish color? Really, oil infusions for colors might be how you can get a range of colors with more natural and local options.
 

ResolvableOwl

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IMHO, carrots, turmeric, pumpkin, and paprika infused oil just don't cut red/orange/yellow. Better alternatives are annatto infused oil, red palm oil, mashed tomato. Or the paprika seed oil I coloured my challenge submission with, that comes from Hungary. I also used spirulina; the strong blueish colour (phycocyanin) doesn't survive lye, and it's just like about any other green plant. Anything anthocyanin based (red cabbage, blueberries, elderberry, red wine, purple carrots) will more or less undergo the same fate, unfortunately.

Natural/plant based colourants have been a topic countless times already:
 

ImpKit

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IMHO, carrots, turmeric, pumpkin, and paprika infused oil just don't cut red/orange/yellow. Better alternatives are annatto infused oil, red palm oil, mashed tomato. Or the paprika seed oil I coloured my challenge submission with, that comes from Hungary. I also used spirulina; the strong blueish colour (phycocyanin) doesn't survive lye, and it's just like about any other green plant. Anything anthocyanin based (red cabbage, blueberries, elderberry, red wine, purple carrots) will more or less undergo the same fate, unfortunately.

Natural/plant based colourants have been a topic countless times already:
Well... phoo. If I had a way to dry blue berries & raspberries and powderize them... I'd probably still try an oil infusion out of curiosity! But I don't have those tools. *le sigh*

Edit: although... if I wanted to infuse the oil, I really wouldn't need to powderize them would I? Chop them up, yes but... hmm... Google says you can do a decent dry with just an oven...
 
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ResolvableOwl

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Of course you can try it. But keep in mind that anthocyanins are water-soluble. There is no point in making an infused oil out of them (otherwise everyone would do it!).
 

ImpKit

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Yeah AFTER posting the edit I started looking it up. Found a juniper berry infusion blog post elsewhere. Didn't look like the oil had changed color at all.

Phoo. It sounded like it could be interesting. But if the science says it won't work then I don't want to waste the money or the food!
 

Tara_H

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I'm not sure how they will do in your climate, but woad will grow in similar conditions to cabbage, and provides the same colour-giving compounds as indigo, just not as strongly. Unfortunately my first crop wasn't successful and the supplier I bought the seeds from is currently out of stock, but I will definitely be growing this in future.

Alkanet should also grow well where you are, and gives a purple colour. I'll be starting my seeds for this shortly.

I think madder (pink/red) can also be used in soap but would need to double check - it's also on my to-grow list, along with weld, but mostly for wool dyeing.
 

earlene

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So heirloom carrots can grow in purple colors. I've never used them for cooking or anything but if you can get the seeds, or find a local market that carries them, you could try to juice them and see if you could get a purple color. Or even... can you DRY carrots and then run them through a powderizer of some kind?

As for red... tomato maybe? Can paprika be cultivated in France? That can apparently be used to infuse olive oil and probably is a nice red.

Blue... it'd be more purple-blue than blue-blue but what about blueberry juice?
My soap made with red tomato sauce was green, a total surprise, but they were lovely to look at.

Blueberry turns brown in soap.
 

AliOop

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One this forum's members, Jo Haslauer, has a lovely e-book on natural colorants that explains whether to use a particular substance in an oil infusion, or added directly to lye, etc. You can buy it here. (updated the link since now it is sold on her own website).
 

shelley1002

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Tara_H

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Just checked on the madder, and it's good for soap also:

A good tip if you're looking for plants to grow for dyeing is to look at the Latin name. If it includes 'tinctoria' then it's a traditional dye plant.
 

Ladka

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... as I do eat bananas or avocado for instance (that does not make them possible colorants though) ...
Avocado (pits and skins) is a colourant. It gives pink to reddish on wool, silk and cotton.
. for blue? Indigo isn't grow here, and I can only rely on organic crops to be fair trade... and again, that doesn't fix the "local" issue...
Indigo can be grown, beside woad, throughout Europe, reaching as far North as Finland (in a greenhouse). I grow both in my garden situated at Latitude: 46°14′19″ N, Longitude: 14°21′20″ E, Elevation above sea level: 387 m.
I dye wool, silk and cotton with them so very local and organic. But I have experience in colouring soap batter with indigo only.
 

KiwiMoose

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Well... phoo. If I had a way to dry blue berries & raspberries and powderize them... I'd probably still try an oil infusion out of curiosity! But I don't have those tools. *le sigh*

Edit: although... if I wanted to infuse the oil, I really wouldn't need to powderize them would I? Chop them up, yes but... hmm... Google says you can do a decent dry with just an oven...
We can get freeze dried raspberries here - you probably can get those over there too?
 

ghoshsmita

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Hi there!
following the "dangers of micas" thread, and based on my personal wish to use as local ingredients as possible and/or of fair trade origin, I would like to know if you have experimented colorants that can grow in your countries. I can also extend my constraints to edible tropical things, as I do eat bananas or avocado for instance (that does not make them possible colorants though).
I'm mostly interested in non-tropical stuff though, as I'm in France.

I've tried:
* carrot, curcuma for orange hues.
Curcuma works well but even well mixed in oils tends to give tiny particles in the soap.
Carrot juice is cool and gives a yellowish hue, but I don't know how it behaves if in greater quantities.
I also red about paprika...
Any ideas?

* spirulina for green
I used spirulina specks and they both coloured in greenish-blueish hues and gave particles in the final soap.
I also read some of you use matcha and parsley...

I have ideas for red (red bell pepper? red cochineal - how in the heck can I harvest them if they are numerous enough in my garden to begin with?)
and for brown (coffee, cocoa...)
but for blue? Indigo isn't grow here, and I can only rely on organic crops to be fair trade... and again, that doesn't fix the "local" issue...
and for white? I used white clay but... well it's not white at all in soap, it's kind of grayish...

Sorry if there's already a thread about that, when I searched I only found "natural" coloring, including oxydes etc. regardless of the growth location.

Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and experiments...

happy bubbles!
Stéphanie
There is a group on FB called soapmaking natural ingredients where they have detailed photo albums with the colors with the added colorants. They also have a countrywide list of suppliers. Also there is a book by Jo Haslauer on natural colors. I have used paprika infused oil to get an reddish orange. I also used avocado seed powder to get a pinkish color. Madder root for a maroonish red and alkanet powder in lye...but that has given me all different colors each time. I am in Dubai, so a lot of the natural colorants are imported, but since we are very close to India, I have a huge range available

There is a group on FB called soapmaking natural ingredients where they have detailed photo albums with the colors with the added colorants. They also have a countrywide list of suppliers. Also there is a book by Jo Haslauer on natural colors. I have used paprika infused oil to get an reddish orange. I also used avocado seed powder to get a pinkish color. Madder root for a maroonish red and alkanet powder in lye...but that has given me all different colors each time. I am in Dubai, so a lot of the natural colorants are imported, but since we are very close to India, I have a huge range available
*Countrywise
 

Nanna

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My soap made with red tomato sauce was green, a total surprise, but they were lovely to look at.

Blueberry turns brown in soap.
This was about 2 tbsp tomato paste for 2 loaves, could’ve added a bit more with paprika for more red. Is slowly getting oranger. Made it on the 20th this month.
 

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Aromasuzie

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You haven’t mentioned the rest of the French clays, pink, red and green. I love the feel they give to soap too. I also grow my own calendula, as a tea for the lye water, infused in oil and powdered in the soap. I also tried paprika, but it faded really quickly. First photo is calendula and the second is with French Rose clay.
IMG_20210409_133843_5~2.jpg
 

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Fenchurch

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Wow...
Thanks to all of you, I'm sorry Not to thank you individually, but each of you gave me plenty to think about or to try.
I'll try to find seeds for the mentioned plants, including indigo, hoping I won't need too many of them as I only have a modest garden.
Clays are a goo lead too, and I didn't know avocados to be colorants.

The main and common constraint from what I read here is that botanical colorants will fade out rather quickly. Is it still tru if I keep my soap in the dark (as I do)?

Thanks again, you're incredibly helpful.
Happy bubbles,
Stéphanie
 

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