So, Just How Edible Is Edible Glitter... Really?
The first time I read that people were eating gold, I couldn’t believe it.
From gold-flaked donuts to gold leaves on burgers, it turns out not only is eating gold popular but that we’ve been eating gold since Egyptian times.
So when it came to this trend about eating glitter…
I still couldn’t believe it. But gold glitters, and gold is edible, so did that mean glitter is edible, too?
You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that, especially if you’ve logged onto Instagram anytime in the past few years. The trend is clear: let’s put edible glitter on everything. Glittery unicorn Frappuccinos, glittery gravy in London, and even glittery pizza.
But like so many food trends, it’s worth asking if what it took to make that photo so appetizing is actually even edible.
Though food styling and food photography are improving from their trickster beginnings (would you believe they used mashed potatoes to stand-in for ice cream?) it can still be hard to know what you’re getting into when you see the latest trends.
So, today we’re going to take a look at what edible glitter is, and how you can make sure you’ve got the right ingredients to make your food sparkle - in photos and in taste.
Why Non-Toxic Glitter Is A No-Go
Let’s start with a low bar for you to clear when you’re getting ready to craft cupcakes that shimmer and sparkle:
You can do better than non-toxic glitter.
According to Poison.org, “A non-toxic substance is one that is not expected to cause symptoms or be dangerous.”
Non-toxic substances include arts and crafts products that children are going to be playing with, like chalk, pencils, crayons, and pens. It also includes potting soil, styrofoam, and diaper creams.
That is, things you or your child might accidentally ingest but wouldn’t ever make a point of eating on purpose. It’s not toxic… but it’s not suitable to be eaten.
The way you can think about non-toxic glitter is the way we talked about food styling in the past. If you’re really just there to make the picture look good and have no plans of eating it, glitter away.
But if you’re looking for edible glitter that you can use to decorate and devour, read on.
Just How Safe is Edible Glitter to Eat?
A fair question to ask yourself is how safe edible glitter is to eat. That depends on a few details.
If you end up making your own edible glitter (keep reading for some helpful tips), you’ll have more control over what actually goes into the product. While a homemade sugar-and-food coloring edible glitter may not be the most dynamic-looking option, you know what’s been put into it, and that’s valuable.
Your other option is going with a prepared edible glitter. There’s certainly no beating the convenience of the instant sparkle satisfaction of opening a package and being able to apply it immediately.
But like any food product, you should be mindful of the following:
- Where it’s made
- How it’s made
- What it’s made with
For products made outside of the USA, you may want to consider if their production standards are equivalent to the ones you’re familiar with here.
Likewise, food products can often be made in facilities where other products are prepared and packaged. That’s why you sometimes see “May contain nuts” on the packaging of products that don’t even contain nuts (it’s nuts, we know!).
This is especially true if you have sensitivities to certain foods or food groups that could turn an innocent sparkling of edible glitter into a more complicated problem. For that reason, you may want to look into edible glitters like Sprinklify, which are not only made in the US but are certified to be Nut Free, Dairy Free & Gluten Free.
What About DIY Recipes for Edible Glitter?
If you’re rightfully questioning the idea of putting non-toxic glitter over the food you’d like to serve, you may be thinking about how you can make your edible glitter at home.
After all, if you’re making those unicorn cupcakes from scratch, why not make the edible glitter from scratch, too?
Though there are plenty of recipes around to show you how to make your own edible glitter, you might find that the end result is just not as sparkly and satisfying as you were hoping for.
Many of the quickest recipes feature a mix of sugar and food coloring that’s then baked in the oven. Once it cools, you can apply it to the surface of your culinary creation.
But as you might have already figured out, sugar-based glitter has a tendency to dissolve, so whether it’s not stored in the proper environment, you accidentally spill a liquid on it, or you’re hoping to use your edible glitter to decorate the top of a drink, you may end up with more gloop than glitter.
While there are other options to make edible glitter that include less common ingredients like tylose powder or luster dust, the use of a mineral-based edible glitter like Sprinklify will give you the shimmer and shine you’re looking for without worrying about the sugary solution dissolving.
What Should Your Edible Glitter Taste Like?
Never has the idea of “eating with your eyes” been more true than in our social media-saturated world. Just think back to the last time you chose a restaurant, picked a recipe to follow online, or ordered takeout.
Did you make the decision just based on the words on the menu or the ingredients in the recipe?
Maybe. But I’d be willing to be that photo you saw helped clinch the decision.
And wanting food that looks good is hardly a crime. Heck, the origins of the Michelin stars rating system are based at least on some parts of the presentation.
But as you remember from our non-toxic section, glitters that are used for “decorative purposes only” may make your food look good, but they’re going to distract from the hard work you put into getting that frosting just right, the mix of the batter, or the steamed milk for your glittery cappuccino.
Likewise, those purely sugar-based edible glitters are going to add an extra layer of sweetness to whatever it is you’re making. That might be acceptable if you’re piling them on top of an already sweet unicorn cupcake, but it’s going to complicate the cooking process.
In short, the best edible glitters are the ones that you can use in most situations. Apart from being actually edible (more on that in a minute!), they should be tasteless and textureless, too.
Because as good as food looks, it doesn’t win Michelin stars on looks alone. For edible glitter that will make you want to keep eating, you’re best to go for a neutral option.
How To Use Different Edible Glitter Colors To Really Shine
With edible glitter, we firmly believe in the saying “all that glitters is not gold.”
Why? Because when you’re decorating with edible glitter, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one measly metallic color!
There’s been so much joy in the creative edible glitter explosion over the past few years. Pink cupcakes with pink glitter, green macarons with green glitter, and of course, unicorn glitters with every color under the rainbow.
We’ve talked about desserts a fair amount here because that’s traditionally where this sort of decoration shines. Edible glitter certainly stands out in that world, allowing you to move beyond one or two colors of frosting to add sparkle with just a sprinkle.
But they also bring a level of delight to foods not normally known for it, like the aforementioned gravy. With edible glitters available from brands like Sprinklify, you get a new creative element with dozens of colors.
From white pearl to black, champagne gold to silver, and neon yellow to deep purple, there are plenty of ways to think about decorating. Here are three of our favorites:
- Color Boosting - Add more of the same color you’re working with to add a next-level shine. That could be yellow sparkles on a lemon-flavored cocktail, ivory sparkles to a gourmet yogurt parfait or pumpkin orange sparkles for a perfect pumpkin pie.
- Shading - Whether for cakes or other creations, add sparkle in a shade darker than the food you’re working with to create a nice depth of color and texture to set it apart
- Combining Colors - Like all of the unicorn-themed snacks and treats, there’s something special about mixing and matching edible glitters. This is ideal for color-forward holidays like Christmas and the 4th of July but also works as a great way to take your sports fandom to new heights.
Making Edible Glitter Your New Go-To Decoration Trick
There’s no overstating the fun and creativity that can be unlocked with edible glitter. Whether you’re making up a batch for yourself at home or getting an FDA-compliant premade edible glitter like Sprinklify, we know you’re going to come up with something great.
The important thing to remember is to be safe. Non-toxic, decorative glitters are great for art projects. But for cooking and baking? Grab yourself an actual edible glitter so you can make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the whole process, from the design to the devouring.
Now, what about you? Are you going to be keeping the unicorn trend alive? Will you be sprinklifying your kids’ snacks? Let us know below if we *sparkled* any culinary creations!