“Food coloring” is anything that is added to food to alter or intensify color. Various substances are widely used in commercial food production, and food coloring is sold in grocery stores for home baking projects and egg-dyeing.
Color additives have been an integral part of culinary arts throughout much of human history. Ancient Egyptian writings describe colorings used to dye drugs, and food colors are believed by archaeologists to have been around since 1500 B.C.
Food colorings are sold in concentrated forms: liquids, gels, pastes and powders.
Liquid color forms are most widely available and can be found at almost any grocery store, while gels, pastes and powders might be more difficult to come by. Even more specialized varieties of each of these forms are available at some specialty baking stores or by catalogue.
Food colorings are used so sparingly that, for the occasional baker, they are used up very slowly and can be kept in the pantry for years.
Coloring is used to color icings, baking projects and Easter eggs. When using colors just for fun at home, just follow the instructions on the colors and remember that a little goes a long way.
If striving for more nuanced artistic success, particularly in projects such as cake decorating, there are a number of things you can keep in mind for optimal success.
View BigOven's food-coloring recipes