Many people prefer to avoid commercial food colorings, either because of a specific allergy or a general sense that natural colorings are healthier. Some colors are easier to achieve than others. Either turmeric or saffron, for example, will provide a vivid yellow. Beets are commonly used as a natural red coloring, but can stain clothing and kitchen linens quite badly. Other foods such as pomegranate and strawberries can give varying shades of pink and purple-red, but raspberries produce the deepest color aside from beets.
Things You'll Need
Rinse the raspberries and place them in the small saucepan. Place the saucepan on a burner at low-medium heat, and heat the berries gently until they soften and release their juices.
Scoop the softened berries into a blender, using a flexible spatula to “squeegee” the juice from the pot’s bottom and sides. Process the berries to a puree in the blender. Alternately, use an immersion blender to puree the berries in the pot.
Fold several layers of cheesecloth, and line a colander with them. Place the colander over a bowl, and empty the blender or pot into the cheesecloth lining. Again, use the flexible spatula to get all the juice from the blender or pot.
Press firmly with the back of the spatula to extract as much juice as possible from the berries. When all the juice is extracted, pour the juice into a storage jar and refrigerate until needed.
Raw raspberries can also be pureed for their juice, but will produce a paler color. The color produced by cooked berries is more vivid, but has a purple tinge. Both introduce a light raspberry flavor, which becomes more noticeable as color is added.
Raspberry juice is perishable, and will only last for a week or two under refrigeration before getting moldy. Refresh the juice after a week by bringing it to a boil for 30 seconds, which will kill any spores. Only do this once, or the color and flavor will deteriorate. Juice can be frozen in ice cube trays, to provide smaller quantities of coloring as needed.
When you are ready to use the coloring, add one drop at a time until you reach the desired hue.