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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Carrots Turning Green in Carrot Muffins

    I make a lot of cakes, I cook most days and am pleased with most of my creations (I say most, but not all work out as they should!) The other day I made a dozen carrot muffins. The ingredients were nothing out of the ordinary for muffins. All of the ingredients were well in date and fresh. My kitchen top was very clean prior to cooking. Why then, when I cut into the muffins they had emerald green flecks in them? Most unusual. They tasted fine but I was glad that they were for my own consumption and not made especially for a friend.My Mother In Law (who is a good cook) has no idea either. Please help! Kind Regards Liz

    From the nigella team:

    The green flecks are carrot but the colour has been changed by the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in the mixture. Some pigments are sensitive to pH balances and will change colour if they are in a very acid or very alkaline environment. In the case of carrots they can change from orange to green if they are in a cake batter which is too alkaline and the alkaline in the ingredients comes from the bicarbonate of soda. If it is a recipe that you have baked successfully before then it is likely that the bicarbonate of soda was not mixed into the cake batter properly. If this is the case then make sure the dry ingredients are either sifted or whisked together thoroughly before the carrot and liquid ingredients are added. If it is a new recipe then it may be that you need to reduce the amount of bicarbonate of soda slightly.

    The muffins are still safe to eat despite the colour change. It is also worth mentioning that blueberries, sunflower seeds and walnuts can have their colour changed in this way (the walnuts turn blue/purple).

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