Reveal secret messages with cranberry juice!
What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?!
One common side dish to go with your turkey is cranberries! How did cranberries become such a Thanksgiving Day staple?
One reason that cranberries are so good for us is because they are full of antioxidants.
Today, we're going to use cranberry juice as a secret message decoder. The reason that we're using cranberries is because they contain an antioxidant (also a pigment) called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins arewhat gives cranberries their deep red color. We've talked about different pigments such as anthocyanins when we made homemade veggie paint.
Check that out here for more artsy fun: https://www.discoveryexpresskids.com/blog/painting-with-veggies
Anthocyanins don'g just appear in cranberries; you can find anthocyanins in lots of other dark red fruits and vegetables, such as purple cabbage, blueberries, and cherries.
When anthocyanins arecombined with either a strong acid or a strong base, the purply-red color changes! Let's test it out.
Let's think... what in your house is an acid?
-Lemon juice, vinegar, orange juice
How about a base?
-Baking soda, some cleaners
We're going to use baking soda as our base and lime juice as our acid (lemon juice will work just as well).
Pour about an inch of cranberry juice in three different clear glasses. Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice to one, and a tablespoon of baking soda to another. What happens? You'll notice that the acid made the cranberry juice a brighter, lighter red, and the baking soda turned the cranberry juice a darker, purply-blue. If you add more, does it continue to change color? Try it!
YOU WILL NEED:
- Cranberries or cranberry juice
- Lemon or lime juice
- Baking soda
- Paint brush
Here's what to do!
- Using lemon or lime juice, write a secret message or design on your paper. Wait for it to dry.
- Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water (you don't need a lot of water). Stir until dissolved.
- Using your baking soda mixture, write a second message/design on your paper. Wait for it to fully dry.
4. Now for the decoding process! If you have cranberry juice, you're all set. If you have cranberries, you'll need to boil them for about 30 minutes to extract the juice/anthocyanins. Wait for the juice to cool before using.
5. Once your paper is dry, pour your cranberry decoder into a glass. Use a paint brush to coat your paper, or just get messy and dump some of the juice over the paper. You could also use a spray bottle for less mess and clearer messages. What happens?!
6. Message decoded! You should have noticed that your baking soda writing turned a greenish-blue (you might have even seen some fizzing), and your lime juice writing got brighter.
Extension: Find other things in your home to test out in your decoding art. Try other acidic fruits as your message ink... you might find that some turn out different shades than others. This is because anthocyanins react with acids and bases differently depending on their pH levels. You could also try different fruit juices with anthocyanins. Test away and have fun!