We all have definitely heard this by now and some of us have even experienced the brutality of chemical filled colours on the auspicious occasion of holi. Many of us have faced allergies, cold, cough and many other skin related issues. We all talk about feeding good organic food to our bodies but we almost forget about other things which may affect us directly or indirectly. One such event is Holi. Just imagine using colours filled with oils and harmful chemicals, which will first ruin our skin and hair, do harm to animals around us and will be ultimately washed off in our beautiful lakes, rivers, oceans or will be absorbed in the soil. All this will affect the food that we consume and will lead to a long-term damage to us and the environment. This happens every year, so this time lets change the scene a little bit. Since holi is approaching, it is high time we search for alternatives that won’t cause all the above-mentioned problems.
Plant based colours
If we are eating plant based then why can’t we make colours from them too? After all we have so many vibrant flowers why not use them?
The protocol for making colours from plants is simply collecting the flowers or leaves which have colour inside them, dry them, grind them into fine powder and add some sort of base like gram flour (commonly known as Besan) or Multani mitti to them.
How to dry the flowers quickly?
I know that holi is just around the corner and sun drying things would take much longer than a week. So, here are some tips to accomplish this task asap!
- Use a microwave or oven – Preheat it, spread the flowers in a baking sheet or tray and keep them in for a few minutes and your flowers will be ready for grinding.
- Use a dehydrator – If you like to preserve certain seasonal veggies then you might be having a dehydrator in your home. So spread the flowers on it and wait for the magic to happen. Soon all the moisture will evaporate and you will get petals which can be turned into a fine powder.
- Use silica powder – You can pack the flowers in a box full of silica powder to dry them. As silica is a very good dehydrating agent, it will absorb all the moisture from the petals and leave them dry.
- The sun – Ofcourse the scorching summer sun is the best dehydrator. So you can plan this for next year. Collect some flowers and spread them on your terrace where they will receive direct sun. In around 2 to 3 weeks, they will lose all their moisture and will be ready for grinding.
Pro tip – Hang the flowers for 2 – 4 days in a dark room upside down. This will make them lose moisture and retain maximum colour.
After your flowers have dried, convert them into fine powders, add some base to them to make up the volume and you will have your natural gulals ready for enjoying the festival.
Which flowers/ plants to use?
Let’s learn this by colours. The type of flowers you need to depends of on what colours you wish to have.
Red/ Pink – Whenever we think about red colour, roses do cross our minds. Roses will make an absolutely beautiful red colour. Apart from that you can use red hibiscus flowers as they are less expensive and easily available. Add some rice flour to maintain its consistency.
Yellow – I don’t know but yellow colour makes me happy so I would definitely want it. You can prepare it with the help of marigold and chrysanthemum flowers. You can add turmeric powder, besan or fuller’s earth as base.
Orange or Kesari colour – This colour is a representation of our country and can be mage with the Palash or tesu flowers which is also known as the ‘Flame of the forest.’ Alternatively you can also use orange coloured marigold or dried peels of the fruit orange.
Green – This colour is available all around us. You use leaves of plants, petals of flowers, henna or mehandi etc. to prepare this colour.
All these flowers can be used for preparing dry powdered colours as well as wet colours too for your children and their water guns. Preparation of wet colours is far more simple. You can take some beetroots, some green leaves or some flowers, boil them and keep the overnight and it will be ready! You can also add some food colours if you feel that diluting with water will make them dull.
So what are you waiting for? Start your preparations soon and bless your family and friends with these awesome home made nautral colours. Why should we harm the environment and ourselves for a single day of enjoyment when we have such perfect alternatives available? After all this festival is celebrated from centuries and they used naturals colours only na?
Let’s make a difference and say no to hazardous colours and celebrate this auspicious occasion of holi – Guilt free!