probably a daft question on cochineal

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katiepoppycat
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probably a daft question on cochineal

Postby katiepoppycat » Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:03 am

as it's used as a food ingredient after all. Planning on doing easter egg dyeing this year with the above squished beetle substance. Will it leach through into the egg? and is it okay to eat? Have used blown eggs before but we were hoping to paint wax patterns on the shells then cold water dye them and it's a lot easier with 'live' eggs. Thanks all!



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Postby Mark GRaves » Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:29 am

Yes, it's OK to eat, provided you are not a vegatarian of course (or should that be "provided that you are insectiverous of course").
Serioulsy though, it's OK to eat provided you have no qualms about the source.


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Postby Tuppence » Thu Mar 22, 2007 1:13 pm

yes it's fine to eat

some red food colourings still contain proper cochineal (though most now tend to be synthetic)


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katiepoppycat
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Postby katiepoppycat » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:18 pm

thanks folks! I should have known it's safe - I work in the food industry after all. We were told to take the cochineal out of a char sui pork product because the fact that cochineal makes products unsuitable for vegetarians. Words failed me. We use a beetroot extract now and it's not nearly so colourful. If you happen to be going to warwick at easter i'll be easily recognisable as the one with the red fingers and stains all over my kirtle.



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Postby gregory23b » Thu Mar 22, 2007 9:07 pm

Cochineal is post 1500, with the advent of the explorers. You can use sandalwood as a food colouring, failing that brazil, in the right time frame too, not to mention cheaper.

There is something called Polish cochineal, but not quite the same thing I gather.

If you are not doing anything historical then cochineal would be grand.


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Postby MedicKitten » Fri Mar 23, 2007 3:37 am

I believe that for pre- Cochineal times, you can use kermes- different bug, same pigment...not sure about the toxicity though.


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Postby sally » Fri Mar 23, 2007 7:43 am

MedicKitten wrote:I believe that for pre- Cochineal times, you can use kermes- different bug, same pigment...not sure about the toxicity though.


Kermes is almost unavailable these days though, which is why a lot of dyers substitute Kermes with Cochineal. Its not that the Kermes bug has stopped existing, just that nobody collects it for sale anymore. Apparently in parts of Turkey and India its still common enough on the relevant trees, its just getting hold of it that is tricky for the likes of us



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Postby katiepoppycat » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:33 pm

thanks folks - i have taken advice from deb at the mulberry dyer and she said much the same - I think i will use the cochineal and explain that it is a substitute for the kermes - cochineal bugs must squish more effectively than kermes ones as she reckoned that cochineal became more widespread because you got more dye for your money. How sad - your justification for existence tied into how far your guts will spread. Glad i'm not a kermes bug! Once again thank you for your always constructive advice.



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Postby gregory23b » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:36 pm

I thought Debs had some Kermes, I recall someone waving a small phial at me last year.


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Postby Cat » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:40 pm

Bucket's new tit titfer is dyed with cochineal and madder, or is the same colour as one that woould be. It's apparently an identical colour to one freshly dyed with kermes and madder. It is the most incredible shocking 1980s PINK.


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Postby sally » Fri Mar 23, 2007 1:50 pm

I have some kermes at work, sadly not allowed to use it, but I am working on trying to track down someone with the right bug expertise in the right countries who can find me a sample to experiemnt with



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Postby katiepoppycat » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:41 am

Ooh, getting kermes sounds good Sally! In the menatime, how much cochineal should I be using? My initial plan is to crush up a bit, put it in the water and see how the colour looks - should i be being more scientific than that?!



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Postby sally » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:18 am

you often don't need much, start with a good teaspoon in a small test batch, see if you like the result and adjust accordingly. What mordant are you using? It can make a big difference with cochineal, alum tends to give you puprly pinks, tin more of a red (but a later colour)



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Postby katiepoppycat » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:43 pm

teaspoon plan sounds good - no mordant as we are only messing about with dyeing eggs on easter sunday. Unless i should be using one. In which case . . . .whats a mordant and how do i got one before thursday!?!?!?!?




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Postby katiepoppycat » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:23 pm

thank you once again sally. have a gret easter everyone




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