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How I made green pigments from spinach: a step by step guide

This is the story of the spinach that was on the verge of going bad in our fridge. Being highly sensitive to almost rotten vegetables and fruits, my sister and I decided it wasn't worth cooking. Instead, I found another use for it by turning it into green color pigments. Here is a step by step guide through the process, which is called "laking".
Feel free to let me know how you like it!

green color pigment in Mortar, hand holding pestle

step 1

First, I placed the spinach in a pot of hot water and let it simmer for approximately 30 minutes. However, I wasn't satisfied with the intensity of the green color in the liquid, so I decided to use a hand blender. This helped to enhance the green hue, resulting in a more vibrant liquid.

step 2

Next, I strained the mixture using a sieve, collecting the liquid in a rather large jar. This choice of container will become clear in the following step. Once I had gathered all the liquid, I got rid of the remaining spinach. This time, I prepared two jars of liquid as I wanted to create two different shades of green.

green color laking process in big jars
laking process

step 3

In the next step, I added Alum and Soda to the liquid. I dissolved around 10-15 grams of Alum in warm water and mixed it with the spinach liquid. Meanwhile, I dissolved 5-10 grams of soda ash in a glass of water. Using measurement spoons made the process easier than weighing each time. After allowing the spinach mixture to sit for about ten minutes, I incorporated the soda mix into the solution. As a result, a chemical reaction occurred, causing the solution to bubble and solidify. It was nice to observe this transformation through the transparent jar, which is why using a larger container was advantageous.

step 4

Now, it was time to be patient. I allowed the solution to rest before filtering it. As mentioned in step 2, I aimed to create two different greens. I left one solution untouched, while I rinsed the other one several times with water, which made the dye appear brighter.

step 5

Once the laking process was complete, I prepared coffee filters to separate the paste from the liquid. This step can take some time since coffee filters tend to work slowly. Typically, I wait for approximately an hour, adjusting the waiting time based on the number of filters used.

filtering green pigment paste through coffee filter
filtering through coffee pad

step 6

Once the filters no longer contained any liquid, I spread them out on paper towels. To speed up the drying process, I also spread the paste on the filters. In the past, I would place the paste in the sun to dry quickly, but I discovered that this caused the color to fade significantly. Therefore, I've learned to embrace patience and allow the paste to dry naturally, which usually takes a few days. I change the paper towels several times a day, hoping they absorb any remaining moisture.

green pigment paste drying on coffee pads
drying process

step 7

When the paste is dry, I carefully scrape it off the pad and transfer it to my grinder.

dried green paste on coffee pads
dried paste

I possess a basic grinder from an Asian wholesale store, which works exceptionally well for this purpose. I take pleasure in pulverizing the dry paste as finely as possible, finding the process quite meditative. The results are awesome!

green color pigment in mortar, hand holding pestle

Finally, in the last step, I fill glass tubes with the powdered pigment and mark them for future use.
Afterwards I clean all my glasses that I used and let them dry for future use. Hope this guide helps all, who want to make their own pigments. I am in a trial and error phase myself, so if you have any remarks regarding the correctness of my process, let me know :)

much love,

clean jars after making color pigments

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