How to make natural pink food colouring using beetroot

The end of last winter/early Spring I was up to my eye balls in beetroot, which isn’t really a problem as my kids LOVE them (as long as they are pickled in loads of sugar). But I was getting a bit sick of making it so I decided to dry the beetroots as an alternative to extending the harvest and use them a bit differently.

Me with one of my giant Chiogga Beets (Candy Stripe)
Me with one of my giant Chiogga Beets (Candy Stripe)

We have a super basic food dehydrator that gets a decent work out every so often, but we do have an air fryer that has a dehydrating function (the air fryer is our oven whilst we save for kitchen renovations) but if you have an oven that will go as low as 60, you can dehydrate food.

I initially tried these dehydrated beetroot chips with the kids, a bit of salt. But that earth after taste kicks you in the throat, so the kids did not approve. Even the enticing cuteness of the candy stripes did not sway them.

Chiogga Beetroots in the Dehydrator
Chiogga Beetroots in the Dehydrator before

So how else can you use dehydrated beetroot, food colouring!

The trick with getting beetroot into a form that you can pulverise, much like turmeric, is it needs to be rock solid. So it does take a long time to fully dehydrate, all day give or take depending on the humidity levels of the ambient temperature. So be patient. And the thinner the slices the quicker it will take (highly recommend using a mandolin if you have one and have terrible knife skills like myself). What you’re waiting for is a good snap when you attempt to bend it.

A well dehydrated beetroot chip ready for the blender

Now as I said I did this back in late winter, and I popped them in a glass jar, where I totally forgot about them. Until end of summer, the kids requested MARSHMALLOWS! Specifically PINK marshmallows. So how could I say no.

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All I did was pop these beets into a high speed blender and blended them to a fine powder. Voila. Pink dust.

Pink Dust
Pink dust AKA Beetroot Food Colouring

We added our pink dust to a batch of Quirky Cooking’s naturally sweetened Marshmallows. And they were good. Kids APPROVE. HOORAY!

Honey Sweetened Marshmallows

Honestly, if you eat too many you still get that earthy kick in the back of the throat, which isn’t a bad thing as it slows this sweet tooth down (otherwise they’d be devoured in seconds).

I can’t wait to experiment with other things like cake icing and PASTA.

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