I’ve been excited all week about today being Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We love his books and his movies, and I knew I wanted to make Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast. But was there a way to do it without nasty food colouring? I decided to investigate.
What I found really exciting. Red cabbage can turn eggs green? What?
It didn’t occur to me until part way through the process that I should be taking pictures, but here’s what I did:
1) I chopped about 1 1/2 cups of red cabbage, added it to a pot with a tiny bit of water on the bottom and simmered it for about 10 minutes, adding a splash of water when needed to prevent scorching.
2) I used my immersion blender to puree it, and then pushed it through a fine strainer to squeeze out the beautiful purpleness.
3) I separated a bunch of eggs…
4) …and added a couple scoops of the purpleness to the whites.
5) Then the kids got mixing.
Apparently, the green comes via a chemical reaction relating to the pH levels. Here’s what I found:
“Naturally, red cabbage has a colour somewhere between red and purple, depending on the pH-value of the soil it is growing in. This colour change occurs due to the pigment flavin, which belongs to a group of water soluble plant pigments called anthocyanins (For those of you, that don’t know what the pH value refers to, it is the measure of the acidity (pH < 7) or basicity (pH > 7) of an aqueous solution). In this Instructable, we are making use of the fact, that flavin is a natural pH indicator and that egg white has a pH value of about 8. These slightly alkaline condition result in a colour change to a blueish-green.”
How cool is THAT?
6) I then spooned some
egg whites egg greens into the pan, and carefully spooned a yolk on top, flipping carefully when the time came. (They look less green in this photo for some reason, but they were actually quite green in reality.)
7) I tried to make the ham green, but it only made it purple. Clearly, the ham didn’t have the right pH to cause the reaction. Great science lesson! We talked about pH levels in pools and how our eyes can be red when the pH is off, and perfectly clear when the pH is right.
We all enjoyed our breakfast immensely!
Caleb declared that it smelled like I was cooking chinese food for breakfast, I guess because of the cabbage smell. But they tasted like …eggs, perhaps a slight bit sweeter. All five of us ate them up and declared breakfast a great success!
Now this has me thinking about pH levels and experiments we can do with them. Maybe planting seeds in soils of varying pH levels to see what happens…? I think it’s all pretty cool.
It’s a snow day here in Nova Scotia (we’re finally getting our winter), and I’ve declared it a Funday Friday – because I can (the homeschoolers among you know what I’m talking about). My brood is out in the snow now, a bit of shoveling, bringing in some wood and of course, playing! Later, we’ll do some crafts – maybe draw some Dr. Seuss characters? We’ll watch ‘Horton Hears a Who’ this afternoon, and probably do a read-aloud of Green Eggs and Ham. It’s days like this that my kids will look back on with fondness.
And now I’m off to clean up the post-breakfast mess. A small price to pay for all the smiles.
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!