Many land up in hospitals on ‘The festival of Colours’ for allergic reactions, asthma , eye infection and even blindness because of chemicals and abrasives laden colours. Traditionally for thousands of years Holi was played with flowers or colours made by drying flowers. With time we grew in numbers and flowers decreased in numbers. Chemicals took the place of flowers as they were high on ease and cost. Even now if one wants to go green by buying natural colours one has to pay a lot.
One way to reduce harm is to go for food colours. Mixed in water they give wonderfully coloured water. One can also mix them with corn starch, dry and use as a dry colours. These are also good substitute for market bought colours but still they are chemicals.
Last year I had posted about how I dried my flowers and leaves to make colours. I had made green and orange-yellow. This year I tried with beetroot and cabbage scarps and got some wonderful shades of colours.
I collected beetroot waste and outer leaves of red cabbage. I didn’t wait for them to dry in shade instead I used microwave oven to dry them in few minutes. I usually don’t use microwave for drying but as this was not being used for eating I decided to give it a try. In minutes I got perfectly dry and grind able vegetable chunks with colour preserved.
Then I decided to brush up my chemistry as I had read that beet and cabbage being used as pH indicators (red in acidic and blue-green in basic-soda solution) . This gave me coloured water. Next year will try making powder colours with these coloured waters.
Brown colour came from finely ground coffee waste and black from black tea. Different dried peels like pomegranate, cucumber, orange, apple when grinded gave powders of different shades with fruity aroma. Sun dried carrot gives a beautiful orange powder. One needs either sun or microwave oven or a dehydrator and a good grinder to make these colours.
I got various shades of coloured solutions. Which I used as my wet colours and the powder mixed with some corn-starch as my dry colour along with last years dried marigold and neem powders.
Jacaranda in Bangalore blooms at the time of Holi and next year will try with jacaranda powder…till then keep drying vegetable powders.