October 2016

Using Natural Food Dyes In Your Home and At Chaco

Everything’s beginning to change for fall. The tree leaves, the sky, and the food around us are all taking on new colors. Natural food dye is the partner to seemingly all festivities this time of year, from icing on cookies to festive cakes and other homemade treats.

The Chaco kitchen has been resourceful in bringing our natural food ethos to our love for wacky-colored food. Turmeric, hibiscus powder, beet juice, and chlorophyll are all ingredients we use to color our raw cheesecakes, truffles, and cake frosting.

The pink coconut flakes on our seasonal raw truffles are dyed with beet juice, and our gluten-free chocolate mint cupcakes are made with chlorophyll for a green frosting.

At home, if you’ve ever cooked with fresh turmeric or beets, you know how easily they can stain your hands and cooking surfaces. I have yellow-tinted nails for days after juicing turmeric for the café. While I don’t find my yellow nails particularly pleasing, you can put that beautiful golden yellow color to good use, especially if you’re thinking about creating your upcoming Halloween costume. If you have any light-colored material or yarn you’d like to dye, turmeric makes a great natural fabric dye. All it takes is some ground turmeric, water, salt, and thick gloves to save your skin! Make sure the fabric you’re dying is a natural one—cotton and wool work great. You can follow a similar process with chopped beets for rose-colored results. Grab some yellow onions or red cabbage out of your vegetable drawer for even more color palate possibilities.

I’m constantly looking for ways to save my scraps and keep usable produce out of the compost bin. Not only does creating my own food dyes help me with this mission, it also prevents more chemical dyes from entering the trash and waste water system. Even food-grade dyes contain petroleum-based ingredients and animal products. Synthetic fabric dyes are also known to cause skin irritation and rashes. Ditch synthetic dyes and try making your own natural ones for a rewarding Halloween project!

Do you have a favorite food dye? Leave a comment telling us about your experience. Whether it’s with cooking or just for looking!

 

Recipe for turmeric dye:

4 cups water

¼ cup salt

Natural material (light-colored wool or cotton work best)

Bring the water and salt to a boil, then add your fabric. Let simmer for an hour. This process makes the dye take to your fabric much more easily. Then:

2 cups water
2 T ground turmeric

Bring water and turmeric to a boil, then add your fabric. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove your fabric and let it dry. Viola!

Happy Holidays
Annie
General Manager
Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe & Bakery, Greenwood

brandontutmarc_pqo1knUsing Natural Food Dyes In Your Home and At Chaco
Read more

Building Bridges for U-District Youth

When I began training to be the next General Manager of Chaco University, one aspect I was the most excited about was taking on some community activism projects.

First, I wanted to settle into meeting members of the U-District community.

I took several walks around the neighborhood when I first started commuting from central Seattle.
Almost immediately, I noticed a disproportionately large number of homeless and disenfranchised youth on the streets of the U-district.

I thought, there must already be a great deal of effort going into helping this group of people find stability in their life.

I hoped that if I joined the people working on this that I could add a unique skill set. I wanted to use my resources to diversify and expand the scope of the work that they were doing.

I connected with several people at the annual stakeholder’s meeting with the U-District Partnership’s Buisness Improvement Area (BIA). I met folks working with U-Heights and ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. They were involved in working on improving the lives of homeless youth.

Roots

A few short weeks later, I was at a meeting with those same key people. We began hammering out the details for a homeless youth job placement program, hosted by ROOTS. We hashed out some initial details on doing outreach to other businesses with entry level work force needs. Then we outlined the creation of a pilot program for having light, general work training and UDP/City of Seattle wage compensation put in place. We were going to facilitate the push for these businesses to take on U-district youth as employees.

This project represents not only my personal drive to be a part of the community I work in, but the desire of the Chaco Family to be an active force for improvement in our communities.

There are many areas of my new post as General Manager at Chaco University that I am extremely excited about. The food and drink,

The amazing internal community that makes up the Chaco Family.

Our ability to drive forward sustainable, organic agriculture in Washington. Still, helping those in need in the greater U-District community is one area I feel most called to.

I’m really looking forward to continuing this work and to meeting many more wonderful members of the University District community. I’m excited to meet you all and build amazing things here!

Avalon Zanoni
Manager, U-District
Chaco Canyon Cafe

brandontutmarc_pqo1knBuilding Bridges for U-District Youth
Read more