Blue Monday

Conventional wisdom has taught us that few colors are less appetizing than blue, owing to its scarcity in nature, and especially on the dinner plate. Intuitively avoiding foods that might be moldy, poisonous, or otherwise contaminated, centuries of visual training are hard to deny when confronted with foreign fare. And yet, precisely because such comestibles are so rare, we find ourselves impossibly compelled by these vibrant sights. Splashed across Instagram like edible sapphires, blue eats and drinks dazzle as much as they confound the casual voyeur.

Blue matcha is the culprit behind this azure trend, although the name itself is rather misleading. Made from powdered butterfly pea flowers, it’s an herbal, caffeine-free tisane that shares only a similar brewing method and comparable similar notes of delicate green tea. Far more restrained than the sometimes bitter green brew, the flavor may disappoint matcha aficionados but delight those looking for a less abrasive midday pick-me-up.

Raw food crafters in particular have taken a shine to this blue-hued fairy dust, stretching scant supplies to dye scores of unbaked cheesecakes and other sweet treats. What it lacks in bold flavor, it makes up for in vibrancy; a small pinch can go a long way as a natural food coloring agent.

Applying heat or acid creates a variable situation. Particularly acidic environments will coax the typically cerulean hue to shift toward a the purple family, which can be a fun party trick, but less desirable for a true blue treat. Double up on the dose, avoid citrus pairings or yogurt-based batters, and keep oven temperatures on the down-low for the most royal results.

Sweets and snacks are not the only striking applications for this brilliant blue pigment. Thais have been staining white rice with the raw blossoms since the beginning of recorded history, long before their lavish dishes could go viral on social media. Taking a hint from tradition, one of my favorite ways to elevate the average noodle is now my signature “blu-don bowl,” a bold new spin on the popular bowl-in-one, topped with any variety of vegetables, proteins, and sauces I can pull out of the fridge. It all magically tastes good together, no matter what odd assortment is on hand, tied together by the beautiful strands of chewy udon that shine with an otherworldly teal tint, all from a quick dip in boiling blue matcha tea.

As the days grow warmer though, I look to this cool blue powder for a more cooling experience than the typical hot preparation might provide. Blended ice, blueberries, and a tiny touch of mint form the base for a truly refreshing frappe, far more appealing than anything Starbucks might churn out. Lighter than a milkshake yet more substantial than a mere iced latte, it navigates the fine line in between with grace. Though blue matcha is still something of a rarity on the mainstream market, if the current trends are any indication of its popularity, the powder should soon be staining a brave new world of sweets and savories near you.

Blue Moon Frappe

1 Teaspoon Blue Matcha
2 Tablespoons Warm Water
1/2 Cup Vanilla Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Cup Blueberries
6 – 8 Ice Cubes
2 – 3 Teaspoons Light Agave Nectar
1/4 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract

Whisk together the blue matcha and warm water, stirring vigorously until the powder has dissolved. Pour the mixture into your blender along with all of the remaining ingredients, adding more ice or sweetener based on your preference. Puree on high speed to crush the ice into a velvety smooth blend, with no lumps or chunks remaining. Serve immediately before it begins to melt!

Makes 1 Serving

Printable Recipe

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23 thoughts on “Blue Monday

  1. Those are just gorgeous. Every time I see blue food I think of “Frozen”. lol Sorry I haven’t been very actively commenting. Swamped here…. No excuse. But I love your site, your work, and your writing. Keep it up! :)

  2. I wonder if this would dye fabric?! It’s stunning in colour and I have seen lots of recipes, especially drinks, using it. I think it has been called ‘Blue majic’ or something like that? Am I correct? Very interesting and great that it comes from an entirely natural source. Cheers for sharing this info and the excellent recipe Ms Hannah :)

    1. Not sure about how well it would dye fabric, since it does fade over time. It’s not the most shelf stable hue which is why it hadn’t taken off as a food additive in Comercial products before. Blue majik is actually something else entirely, also known as E3 live and made from algae much like spirulina. It’s a wild blue world out there!

    2. You can actually dye fabric with this but it’ll slowly wash out over time, same with blue spirulina which is made from algae and also 100% organic.

  3. I haven’t heard of this before, but it’s certainly beautiful! I like your blu-don bowl. :-) And the drink sounds really good right now, as I’m beat from a day of hard work reclaiming a garden. :-)

    janet

  4. […] Conventional wisdom has taught us that few colors are less appetizing than blue, owing to its scarcity in nature, and especially on the dinner plate. Intuitively avoiding foods that might be moldy, po […]

  5. Oh wow, I love blue, all shades of it, and had never heard of blue matcha till now. Thank you so much passing it along, and the great work that you do with it. I wish I was drinking that magical looking beverage right now!!!

  6. When blue is not mould, blue is the prettiest colour to eat! :D What beautiful delights you have produced. Thank you for sharing!

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