Blue foods capture the imagination because they are so rare in nature. Who doesn’t know a kid who sticks their tongue out in glee after chewing blueberries? Let’s get to know some real blue foods and find out why they’re so few and far between!
What makes food Blue?
Naturally blue foods get their colour from a relatively rare group of chemical pigments called blue anthocyanins, which are derived from anthocyanidins. Most anthocyanidins are red and produce red coloured food, but some are blue and make purple, black, and blue hues instead. Anthocyanidins are being researched for their potentially anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-obesity properties. Unlike carotenoids and red anthocyanidins, blue anthocyanidins are comparatively rare.
Blue Foods in Nature
Most processed blue foods are the result of adding artificial blue colour to the recipe. However, edible blue organisms do occur in nature. This is an illustrated list of naturally blue foods:
Blueberries, the most famous of Blue Foods
Okay, let’s get the obvious one out of the way! Blueberries are renowned for their blueness and inherent goodness.
Huckleberries are known by many different names, but you can think of them as smaller, wilder, less sweet blueberries.
Blue Java Bananas
Blue Java Bananas supposedly taste like ice-cream!
Indigo Milk Cap
Indigo Milk Cap is a blue mushroom which oozes blue “milk” and tastes like a typical woodland mushroom.
Blue Corn is just like regular corn, but blue.
Up until a few hundred years ago, most of the carrots grown by farmers were not orange/yellow. Many of them were blueish-black. Many of them still are blueish-black.
Aubergine, or Eggplant
Purplish/blue aubergines (a.k.a. eggplant) are a commonly seen vegetable.
Cabbage comes in many different colour combinations, including blue!
Blue tomatoes are gaining in popularity, so expect to see a few pop up in your local market.
Chokeberries have a bluish hue.
Whilst red raspberries dominate our market, blue raspberries are more common in others, especially some Asian regions.
Concord Grapes get their outstanding blueness from a delicate balance of competing anthocyanins.
European Plums are Blue
Also known as Damsons, European plums are made into blue prunes.
Blackthorn, or Sloe, is a fruit of the Rose family.
Indonesian Blue Rice
Not to be confused with the blue rice made with food colouring, Indonesian Blue Rice is naturally blue!
Adirondack Potato is one of several blue potato varieties. Blue bangers and mash, anyone?
The blue in Blue Cheese comes from the penicillium cultures which inhabit it.
Vivid Blue Quandong is bush tucker.
Yes, the flesh of the Blue Ling Cod is blue, and Ling Cod is far from the only blue seafood.
Butterfly Pea Flower
Butterfly Pea Flower makes an intense blue tea.
Blue Crayfish (Blue Yabbies) go really well in a coconut curry.
Even More Blue Foods!
Believe it or not, there are even more blue foods! But why not give your eyes a nice change from blue with these orange fruits?