Monday, 25 January 2016

School Holiday Experiments - Colouring Celery Stalks

Although the summer school holidays always seem to fly by, they are kind of long with a whopping six weeks of no school (for those of us who can't afford private school education).  So after all of our various Christmas and new year functions are done and dusted, I start organising the various activities which will entertain the Cheeky Monkeys.

image food colouring and celery overnight soak

One very successful and entertaining activity has been the tried and true experiment of attempting to dye flowers and vegetables with food dye.  Not only is this a fun activity for kids of all ages because they get to play with water and food dye, but it is a great visual demonstration of how watering our plants (and contaminating their water source) affects them.

So, what do you do?  It's all very simple and only needs a few supplies and ingredients.

- large drinking glasses or medium-large jam jars
- food safe dye
- celery stalks with leaves (I recommend using the younger stalks closer to the centre of a celery bunch as the leaves are lighter in colour and will give better colour results)

image food colouring and celery

1. Grab your drinking glasses or jam jars and fill them about half way with water.
2. Decide what colour(s) you are going to use to dye your celery.  If you're using regular food dye from the supermarket (like we did), I would recommend adding 5-10 drops of dye to your water (we had about 200ml water).  Mix colour in well.
3. Cut your celery stalk cleanly; to reduce the risk of toppling your jar or drinking glass, make sure not to leave too long a section of stem.  Put the celery stalk into the coloured water and leave on your kitchen bench or dining table.

image food colouring and celery 4-5 hour soak
After 4-6 hours, the tinge of colour in the celery leaves is very noticeable.

4. This is the part that requires PATIENCE.  You won't see any noticeable change for at least an hour, maybe more if your dye concentration is quite weak.
If you briefly remove the stalk from the water, you should start to notice the base of the celery stem starting to colour as the water is drawn up into the stalk.
After a few hours you should definitely notice the celery leaves starting to take on a coloured tinge.
If you leave your celery stalks overnight, as we did, you will wake up in the morning to find brightly-coloured leaves in shades you don't normally find in celery!  Not only that, you should definitely see streaks of colour on the edges of the stalk and smaller celery stems.

image food colouring and celery overnight soak
Leave your celery in the coloured water overnight and you will see very bright results the next morning!

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