It is suggested to eat a colorfully varied diet! Because it adds visual interest and attractiveness, you should fill your plate with various colorful dishes.
Yet, blue foods typically tend to be high in antioxidants, which have many health benefits in addition to the aesthetic value that something blue naturally adds to a plate.
Fruits and vegetables that are naturally blue can help prevent heart attacks, cancer, and even strokes. The pigments that give these foods their distinctive color denote the presence of uncommon vitamins that are harder to obtain from other sources.
What gives Blue Foods their color?
Anthocyanins are the primary source of color in the majority of the blue meals I’m mentioning. The pH to which most anthocyanins are exposed affects the stability of their colors. Red cabbage is the typical example; depending on the amount of acidity it is exposed to, it can change its color from bright red or purple to blue or dark blue-green.
You’ve discovered a blue food, then? There’s a good chance it will turn purple if you add acid. And what happens if you add acid to purple food? It’s likely to turn crimson. One major drawback to this amusing pH color-changing phenomenon is that almost all foods are acidic.
So how exactly do you cook with blue? The variable anthocyanin rule has a few exceptions that let you use varied cooking methods while still producing a little amount of blue.
Health Benefits of Blue Foods
Purple foods are the way to go if you want to boost a positive mood and sound cognitive function. The phytochemicals that are present in them naturally are the reason why they offer advantages for mental health.
You are well aware that eating foods derived from plants is the healthiest option. They are brimming with naturally occurring compounds that promote general wellness by fending against chronic illness, boosting the immune system, and preserving regular bodily processes.
But, it’s possible that the Western diet does not include enough colored fruit and vegetables. Instead, beige, starchy foods stuffed full of fat and sugar are used to lure taste senses. That’s where “Eat the Rainbow,” a sort of superfood, steps in!
The naturally occurring compounds present in plant meals, including those in purple foods, have many positive effects on human health.
Purple foods contain phytonutrients that improve mood and cognitive function. The advantageous phytonutrients found in blueberries and grapes, including anthocyanins, phenolic acid, and resveratrol, have drawn special attention.
High anthocyanin-content foods include berries, currants, and grapes. According to the pH of the surrounding environment, anthocyanins can either be red or blue. These polyphenolic flavonoids, which are flavonoids, have potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Consuming anthocyanins is good for the human brain both in the long- and short-term, according to research. For instance, children aged 8 to 10 years old had better recall after drinking a blueberry beverage high in flavonoids. There was a noticeable improvement in their recollection of a previously learned set of words after just one treatment.
When you harvest blueberries, they appear blue, but when they are crushed, they become red or purple. At a neutral pH, the skin’s pigment is blue, but when it comes into contact with the berries’ acid, it turns red. When it comes to blueberries, I typically think that the flavor is far more significant than the color, and the flavor is enhanced by acidity.
If blueberries are exposed to too much base, such as in pancake batter or muffin mix, they may even turn green. Reduce the baking soda or powder in the recipe or increase the acid, like buttermilk or lemon juice, to prevent this discoloration.
Anthocyanins can be found in abundance in blue corn types. Blue maize will appear purple in acidic environments and bluer in basic ones. Make cornbread or tortillas with blue cornmeal instead of yellow.
Red cabbage leaves that have been cooked and steeped in a slightly basic solution will gradually turn bluish-purple. Red cabbage leaves should be sliced and boiled for 10 to 15 minutes to create a blue food dye. Remove the cabbage through a strainer, then reduce the liquid until it is thick and syrupy (a complete cabbage’s cooking liquid will equal roughly a quarter cup).
You now hold the purple syrup. There should only be a very small amount of baking powder used (you have to go slowly here or you can turn the whole batch green). Add baking soda gradually in little amounts until the color barely shifts to blue.
Add baking soda in tiny amounts over time until the color barely changes to blue. It’s crucial to add just enough baking soda to achieve the desired color and flavor. Baking soda has little impact on flavor in small doses, but if you use too much, the food will taste awful.
You now own a blue dye, Although the combination of baked soda and boiled cabbage sounds disgusting, the flavor of the coloring is not that strong. To add blue to icings, cake batters, and cookie doughs, use it lightly. But keep in mind that the color could potentially alter. It will instantly turn back to purple if you add it to an acidic dish.
When cooked, purple potatoes take on a bright blue-purple hue instead of their raw color of vibrant purple. This color shift is of a different kind than past acid/base changes, but I’m at the edge of my chemistry expertise here. Yet, compared to red cabbage or blueberries, cooked purple potatoes are significantly less prone to acid-induced color changes.
Moreover, purple potatoes that are subjected to high acid concentrations fade and turn a very light purple rather than the strong purple found in raw potatoes. Moreover, purple potatoes are not particularly prone to color bleeding. They’re therefore a great method to add flavor to food without having to worry too much about pH.
Due to their higher anthocyanin content, purple potatoes offer a nutritional advantage over white and yellow potatoes. Consider substituting them for potatoes in your dishes.
Bachelor’s buttons, often known as cornflowers, are usually quite brilliant blue. The edible petals can be used as a garnish for a dessert plate or as a fresh addition to salads. As a garnish, dried flowers can also be used. You only use them for the color because the flavor is so weak and grassy.
Some loose-leaf tea blends contain cornflowers, which do create an eye-catching contrast to the dried, black tea leaf tendrils. Always check the source of your flowers and confirm that they were cultivated organically or only received food-safe chemical treatments.
A blue-flowered Italian herb is called borage. The borage plant develops large, hairy leaves and clusters of tiny, five-pointed blue blooms, and is frequently cultivated next to tomatoes and eggplant.
Borage flowers are said to improve your mood in several folk medicine traditions. And how could putting little, lovely flowers into your meal not make you feel better? Fresh borage flowers can be used as a garnish on desserts or salads.
Butterfly Blue Pea
The butterfly blue pea bloom is the final and most impressive of the blue anthocyanins. The flowers on this pea vine are stunning and deep blue color. This gorgeous bloom is used in Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, and other cuisines cooking. The customary blue flecks on Malaysian sticky rice cake known as pulut tai tai come from pea blossoms.
And the chor ladda, a delicately sculpted Thai dumpling, looks like a vivid blue flower. Thailand also makes chilled herbal tea using blooms that are said to be calming and refreshing. The flowers can be used fresh or dried to create a stunningly vivid blue infusion. I was fortunate to acquire some dried butterfly blue pea blooms, and I must say, they are amazing.
Bluefoot and Blewit Mushrooms
If we were being particular about colors, I’d say these are more purple than blue, but they are named blue, they have a magical appearance, and they have an exceptional, distinctive flavor. Specialty shops sell blue foot mushrooms in the US (and as a rare mushroom, they have an exclusive price tag).
Although related, blewit mushrooms are difficult to find in the US. Whereas blue foot mushrooms are only blue at the base, blewit mushrooms are more evenly colored blue/purple. The flavor of blue foot mushrooms is deep, woody, and meaty. The flavor of cream-cooked mushrooms spreads beautifully, as it does with all tasty mushrooms.