Like all azo dyes, Amaranth was, during the middle of the 20th century, made from coal tar; modern synthetics are more likely to be made from petroleum byproducts.. One of our customers recently shared her dye experiments using Hopi red dye amaranth seeds purchased from our shop.  Consumer activists in the United States, perturbed by what they perceived as collusion between the FDA and food conglomerates, put pressure on the FDA to ban it. I used to grow Amaranth 20 years ago! This undertaken in order to obtain good vibrant colours. Amaranth grows fast and produces a lot of nutrition, so it's not surprising that it is a fairly hungry plant. Bring the dye to a boil, then reduce the heat. Originally grown as a dye plant by the southwestern, Hopi Nation, this variety has the reddest seedlings of any, amaranth known, making it a natural for micro-green, mixes! It’s october weather here in London the days are getting shorter. 7. – John Ruskin.  Its use is still legal in some countries, notably in the United Kingdom where it is most commonly used to give Glacé cherries their distinctive color. For the fibres above I did pre mordant them in alum before putting them in the dye pot. 6 hours daily (Cool, Warm, Hot). Originally grown as a dye plant by the southwestern Hopi Nation, this variety has the reddest seedlings of any amaranth known, making it a natural for micro-green mixes! 2, E123, C.I. It's well-known as a food dye, but less predicatable as a fiber dye.  By 1976, over 1,000,000 pounds (450,000 kg) of the dye worth $5 million was used as a colorant in $10 billion worth of foods, drugs and cosmetics. Food Red 9, Acid Red 27, Azorubin S, or C.I. However for maximum production of both leaf and seed the soil should never be allowed to dry out. Amazing Amaranth And How To Use It Each flower head of the Hopi Indian Red Dye Amaranth can provide up to sixty thousand seeds. Back in the sun for a few days, letting the wool absorb all the beautiful color. Harvest both the leaves and feathery tops for dyeing with the red; just the tops for dyeing with the gold. Amaranth is good in so many recipes, so, a one-pound bag can be consumed in less than a month. I just chop the leaves up or boil the grains on a pot of water. In this case, we just filled gallon sized glass jars with the plant material and filled the jars with water, then let them sit outside in a sunny spot for a week. Amaranth doesn’t go bad, but, I live in Florida where I see flour bugs (weevils) quite often. They are also drought hardly so easily grown in warm climates or in the summer here in the UK. Solar dyeing is a fun project to do with kids. It's better used as a colorant in foods that will be kept cold. Fiber Color RangeNatural dyers are still experimenting with Amaranth, including us! Amaranth is just ready for harvest here now so I am so happy for your inspiration! Amaranth dye is also used in France and Italy in the production of caviar.  FD&C Red No. It can be applied to natural and synthetic fibers, leather, paper, and phenol-formaldehyde resins. Raw leaves can be used as nutrient rich salad greens. The name was taken from amaranth grain, a plant distinguished by its red color and edible protein-rich seeds. Dye pot ready. As a food additive it has E number E123. The Navajo apparently used it for food colorant, and it got into the dye literature that way. This is a must have heirloom grain crop for every sustainable gardener to grow. In 1960, the FDA was given jurisdiction over color additives, limiting the amounts that could be added to foods and requiring producers of food color to ensure safety and proper labeling of colors. 6. I have even successfully grown it in large pots. It is easy to cultivate and grow in a variety of climates. The evening before you are ready to dye, mordant the silk, wool, or other fabric. Tips on how to grow and harvest amaranth is here Growing and harvesting amaranth. Example first frost date on April 08. For a porridge-like consistency, use slightly more water … Very good with butter and honey. Below are the results, from left to right: No mordant gave a greenish tan; Alum gave the closest thing to red and was a pretty kind of pinkish-mauve color; Alum with a pinch of Tin gave a gold color; Tin resulted in a golden brown color. My first attempt looked great, but as soon as I washed the wool with water, all the glorious red color washed right out. I have decided to make some fabric dye out of them. How to Use Amaranth As Food. - Anne Oldham, summer of 2015
I have found out that it is a dye that needs solar dyeing instead of the usual heat and dip technique. It self-seeds and comes back year after year. Beautiful! First Frost Date (FFD) refers to the approximate date of the first killing frost of winter.  The FDA gave "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) provisional status to substances already in use, and extended Red No. Then I decide to make some more dye out of the last amaranth grains. It's trickier to extract a desired color from a range of possibilities, and washfastness, like with other edible dyestuffs, is less than with other dyes - it's about the same as onion skins. I loved how wild and huge it got. The dyebath was then strained and put into 4 quart jars with 1 oz mini-skeins of yarn that had been treated with different mordants.