Colors always play a significant role in our lives, influencing our perceptions, emotions, culinary choices, and appetite of course. In a wide spectrum of colors, blue holds a special spot, triggering the feeling of tranquility and serenity. Unlike the yellow color of bananas and the vibrant red color of strawberries, searching for a naturally occurring blue color food is quite challenging. Don’t be upset! This article will explore the elusive world of blue food, and delve into the mystery behind their rarity.
Why Is Blue Colored Food Rare?
Unlike the prevalent colors like green, red or yellow, blue-colored food is rare in nature. The rarity of blue color can be attributed to the limited presence of blue pigment in plants. Instead of blue color, chlorophyll, and carotenoids are found abundantly in vegetables and fruits, giving them a greenish or orange to yellowish appearance.
What Is the Secret Behind the Blue Food?
The blue color of the food is due to the presence of the unique pigment “anthocyanin”, belonging to the flavonoid family. However, the color of anthocyanin depends upon the pH of the environment, playing a significant role in the rarity of naturally occurring blue food. For instance, in acidic conditions, it appears to be a purple or red color whereas in alkaline conditions it will manifest as a blue color.
Blue (Color): Is There Any Naturally Occurring Blue Food?
Though blue food is very rare in nature, however, there are a few items that naturally appear to be blue, such as:
1: The Blueberry
One of the most iconic and naturally occurring blue foods that is rich in blue hue is the blueberry. Blueberries are found abundantly in North America and contain excess antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. Anthocyanins possess powerful health benefits such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases and anti-inflammatory properties.
2: Blue Corn
Blue corn has been consumed for centuries and is a staple food of North American tribes. The blue hue of the corn is the presence of anthocyanins pigment. Blue corns contain low glycemic and more proteins, making them a healthier option for a variety of traditional dishes.
3: Blue Potatoes
Another mesmerizing gift of nature is the presence of blue potatoes which offers a remarkable health benefit. Blue potatoes are much more like blueberries, containing anthocyanins pigment. Despite their unique blue hue, blue potato contains high nutritional content and antioxidant levels, improving the immune system and cardio health.
4: Butterfly Pea Flower
Though the blue pea flower is not a food item but is a stunning plant that is used to make herbal teas and infusions. Due to the presence of anthocyanins, the tea appears to be bluish but if lemon is added, the color changes to purple. The butterfly pea flower tea offers potential cognitive benefits and antioxidant properties.
5: Blue Algae
Blue algae as the name indicates is a bluish microscopic organism that lives in saltwater and freshwater habitat. Blue algae are rich in vitamins, essential fatty acids, proteins, and minerals, making them nutrient-dense food for a balanced diet.
What Are the Cultural Significances of a Blue Food?
In some cultures the blue color is linked with tranquility, spirituality, and mystery, making the food highly prized for its symbolic value. Similarly, in Japan, the diet of Okinawans contains blue sweet potatoes that contribute to the health and longevity of the region. Additionally, in some indigenous cultures, blue corn signifies culinary traditions and heritage.
While blue-colored food is scarce, it offers a nutritional and delightful addition to our diet. From blue potatoes to antioxidant-rich blueberries, nature has gifted us with healthy and unique food options that undoubtedly enhance the charm of our dinner. Embracing the visual appearance, nutritive values, and cultural significance, blue food lies in the wonder that evokes our culinary experiences.
Let’s enjoy and savor the blue delights that nature is giving us for the time being; who knows what surprises the world of naturally occurring blue food will bring in the future?