Did you know? (red dye edition)

The red dye used in many foods and cosmetics comes from the insect cochineal?

Cochineals live on the nopal cactus in Mexico, and are harvested at about 3 months old. It takes about 70,000 insects to make a pound of cochineal dye!

I found this information in the book Fifty Animals that Changed the Course of History by Eric Chaline on page 66. This was an interesting book; it talked about animals you would never have thought were beneficial to us.

The book A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield recounts the colorful history of cochineal dye and the quest by many world powers to obtain their own supplies of this beautiful dye.

You would be amazed at the amount of insects, animals and plants we are exposed to everyday. Nature in Cosmetics and Skin Care by Cyrille Corbeil will simultaneously surprise and disgust you.

Some bugs can be very similar to one another and the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders or The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Insects by Martin Walters will help you identify what’s bugging you

Dyes from American Native Plants: A Practical Guide by Lynne Richards and Ronald J. Tyrl and Wild Color: the Complete Guide to making and using Natural Dyes by Jenny Dean will help you make your own dyes… without having to collect bugs! And once you have your supply of dye, Fabric Dyeing for Beginners by Vimala McClure will get you started using them.

And finally, there are other things you can color besides fabric. Curious George Colors Eggs by Margaret Rey is a fun book for kids about primary color blending.

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

More in Life

Bob Jepperson’s Wild Love Story

A perfect circle of sounds, pictures and storytelling from the Anacortes author.

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globe nominations

“The Post” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also collected a number of nominations.

Everett’s Michael ‘Scooby’ Silva is the leader of the (dog) pack

Since 2012, he’s built a thriving business walking dogs while their owners are at work.

Mukilteo Police Chief Cheol Kang is known for his people skills

The city’s top cop’s calm demeanor and holistic approach earns him the nickname “Yoda.”

Three posh places to escape this winter in north Puget Sound

Whether it’s wine country, backcountry or the seashore, a relaxing retreat is close at hand.

Getting a glimpse of what’s coming as we age

Everett Public Library reading to help you understand the changes ahead in your elder years.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Most Read