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

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

‘Young Sheldon’ was born out of ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The hit TV show about Sheldon Cooper now has a spinoff series about him when he was a kid genius.

Reminder: Historic Everett’s self-guided home tour is today

The featured home depicted in the tour poster painting by Everett artist Elizabeth Person.

Home and Garden calendar for Snohomish County and beyond

Seattle Home Show 2: The fall version of the oldest and largest… Continue reading

Great Plant Pick: Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’

This red-foliaged switch grass makes a good specimen but also creates a bold statement in a drift.

Plant these late bloomers to brighten up your shade garden

In this follow-up to a column on sunny borders, Steve Smith lists flowers to liven up a dark yard.

Do you know the joke about a set of special-order dishes?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A black-and-white design for colorful plates was sent to China…

Megyn Kelly hopes for a Trump-free zone with new daily show

She says her morning talk show, which debuts Monday on NBC, will not focus on politics.

Beer of the Week: 5 Rights Brewing’s Fresh hop imperial IPA

The Marysville brewery named its beer Wobbly the Laborer after the Industrial Workers of the World.

Most Read