Sending secret messages using cranberries
What interesting qualities are cranberries hiding?
Warning! Only under adult supervision.
- baking soda solution;
- cotton swabs;
- watercolor paper;
- cranberries or cranberry juice.
Soak a cotton swab in a baking soda solution and use it to write a secret message on some watercolor paper. It can be “developed” with cranberries – you just need to wipe the paper with some berries or cranberry juice!
Cranberries are a great addition to classic Thanksgiving dishes – and you can always sprinkle them with powdered sugar! Cranberry juice and the berries themselves contain natural dyes known as anthocyanins. Their structure and color are highly dependent on the acidity of their environment. As it reacts with water, baking soda creates an alkaline environment. As a result, the areas of the paper to which the solution is applied can change anthocyanins’ color. This reveals your secret message! If the message is faint, you can try dissolving baking soda in boiling water. Such a solution will be even more alkaline, and can also be used to write secret messages when it cools. This is such an easy way to make Thanksgiving 2021 even more fun!
Other chemical spy hacks to amuse your children during your Thanksgiving feast are included in the “Chemistry for spies” set from the MEL Science subscription.