How a Common Fruit Started a Blue Food Craze in Brazil

The ripe berries of the genipa tree, called genipapo, have long been used throughout Central and South America to make syrups and liquors, but for a few years now unripe genipapo berries have become highly sought after for their ability to turn foods blue.

The coloring properties of unripe genipapo berries have been documented since the colonization of South America, when Europeans reported its use by local communities like the Tupinamb├ís and the Patax├│s as a temporary tattoo dye, but it wasn’t until 2014 that people learned about its potential to turn food blue as well. It was then that professor and biologist Valdely Kinupp published his book, Unconventional Food Plants in Brazil, where he detailed a process for extracting an edible blue pigment from genipapo berries. Natural blue pigments are very rare in the food industry, so Kinupp’s discovery caused quite a stir which eventually turned into a blue food craze.

Read More »