Sunday 30 August 2009

Colours To Dye For

 DSCF0423 In the veg box, along with the chard was some red cabbage.

I thought we should eat some on Saturday evening. It was a deep crimson red colour.

I chopped some of it, and boiled it together with some more of the chard [yellow stalked] to serve alongside some pork chops.

DSCF0422The cabbage turned from red to an amazing shade of indigo blue!

Can you believe the alteration in colour?**

Today I steamed some cabbage. I did this in a steamer placed over the potatoes which I was boiling for mash.

The cabbage retained a deep purple-red colour - but the water underneath in which the potatoes were cooking became an alarming inky liquid - which added a certain je ne sais quoi  to the mash. It tasted OK, but was a strange grey colour.[Too grim to photograph]

I am very tempted to experiment with cooking more of the cabbage then seeing what happens if I try to dye some white fabric in the resultant ink. I think the colour comes from similar anthocynanins to those found in indigo plants. Ron, [my friend Rachel's Dad] is an expert on indigo, and used to give lectures about it. He told me that almost all our indigo jeans now are dyed with synthetic dyes - apparently they could not possible grow enough plants to provide the world's denim manufacturers with the real stuff!

**Unretouched photos!


  1. I only want red cabbage about once every two months, but I love to read about dyeing fabric.

  2. And I was so sure you *had* retouched the photos! I love the colors, before and after. I do hope you'll experiment with making dye. I'm not allowed to experiment with such things, being the big mess that I am, but I love it when other people do!


  3. Thanks E for the recipe - will report on that when I have tried it.
    Frances - so sorry they will not allow you to experiment - I am an incredibly messy person too - and I think there will be lots of splashes of colour if I do try to dye with cabbage.


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