We know, your mom always told you, “Don’t play with your food!” But today, it’s okay. We’re learning about the pigments in our everyday fruits and vegetables, and then we’ll use them to make our own paint!
What are pigments?
You find pigments in all living things! Besides making the world a lot more interesting and beautiful, pigments have many important purposes. Pigments may be used for camouflage, mate attraction, or even safety. Even humans have pigments—our skin contains the pigment melanin to help protect us from the sun’s UV rays!
Plants use their pigments in photosynthesis to absorb energy from light.
The four main pigments that you’ll find in plants are:
Chlorophyll: Green (spinach, kale)
Carotenoids: Orange or yellow (carrots, peppers)
Betalains: Red or yellow (beets, rhubarb)
Anthocyanins: Blue or red (blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
Make a list of fruits and vegetables. What pigments do you think they have?
Often, a more intense pigment means higher antioxidants. That’s why you should “eat the rainbow!” Having a variety of pigments on your plate means you’re getting the nutrition you require in your diet.
Optional: Make this antioxidant rich smoothie with your paint ingredients for a delicious snack during your activity!
* 1 tablespoon beet powder or ½ cooked beet
* 1 handful of kale or spinach
* ½ cup pomegranate juice (or other 100% juice)
* 1 banana
* ½ cup almond milk or yogurt
* 1 tablespoon honey and sprinkle of Turmeric
* About 5 ice cubes
* Blend and enjoy!
Before we had man-made dyes and paints, people used natural sources to paint or dye their clothing. We’re going to go back in time today to create our very own natural paint.
YOU WILL NEED:
* A variety of fruits/vegetables
* Kale or spinach
* Orange pepper
* Beets or raspberries
* 4 or more glasses
* Corn starch
* Paint brush
1. Choose your fruits/veggies.
2. Blend your kale or spinach with a SMALL amount of water, about ¼ cup.
3. Place your glass underneath the strainer and pour your pureed greens through the strainer. You might need to squish it around to get as much liquid out as you can. Basically, you’re extracting the pigments from the foods and tossing out the pulp. You’ll use these pigments for your paint.
4. Set your first pigment aside!
5. Rinse your blender.
6. Repeat with the next two to three fruits/veggies so you have plenty of color options.
7. Once you have your pigments ready, add a little water where needed. (Stir water into any powders like turmeric or beet powder. The bottom right was a sweet potato puree that needed a little more water. The kale on the bottom left was perfect after straining) For the turmeric, all you need to do is mix two tablespoons with ¼ cup water for a nice, bold yellow. The beet powder only required one tablespoon for a bright red.