Halloween Science: Magic Potion

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

It’s simple to stir up some Halloween magic with a head of red cabbage and some baking soda and vinegar.

Magic Potion, from “Kitchen Science Lab for Kids” Quarry Books -photo by Amber Procaccini

Chop us half a head of red cabbage (with adult supervision, of course), put it in a sauce pan, cover it with water and boil for 10 minutes or so, until the water turns purple. Let it cool, strain out the cabbage and save the purple juice, which is your Magic Potion.

Pour about half a cup of the purple juice into each of two clear cups or bowls.

To one cups, add 2 tsp. baking soda and stir. What happens?

To the other cup, add 1/4 cup vinegar. Amazing!

Now, put the two cups on a tray or cookie sheet and pour the pink cup into the blue cup quickly. Woo Hoo!

Here’s a video, if you want to see how the experiment works.

What happened?

Everything in our world is made of very tiny pieces called atoms. When atoms bond to other atoms, they form groups of linked atoms called molecules.

Purple cabbage juice is called an acid-base indicator. The molecules in the cabbage juice magic potion change when exposed to an acid or base, making the potion change color.  Vinegar is an acid (acetic acid), which turns the potion pink and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a base, which turns it blue or green.

When you mix the vinegar potion and baking soda potion together, a chemical reaction occurs and you make Carbon Dioxide gas.  That’s why you see bubbles!

Soak coffee filters in leftover cabbage juice (if you have any) to make Homemade Litmus Paper!

Have fun experimenting! Happy Halloween!

Leave a comment