Using colorful and glittery luster dust on cakes and candies is a fun and effective way to make your delicious creations look even more amazing.
Many of you are wondering if luster dust actually has an expiration date and if it is safe to consume it, which is why I wanted to address this commonly asked question in an article.
As luster dust is a dry powder made of the inorganic compounds titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and mica, as well as of the simple sugar dextrose, it does not expire or go bad. Regardless of that, most luster dust manufacturers will still put an expiration or best-before date on their edible products to meet standard regulations.
Keep reading this article if you want to know what luster dust is made of, if it is edible, and what it tastes like.
Pro Tip: You can either brush the luster dust onto your creations or spray it with the help of an airbrush machine. For the latter, you will have to mix your dust with some clear alcohol (like Absolute Vodka) to spray it. You can find the perfect set of paintbrushes and a phenomenal airbrush machine on Amazon.
What Is the Shelf Life of Luster Dust?
While most manufacturers will put an expiration date or a minimum shelf life on their luster dust products, this decorative powder is virtually ever-lasting and does not go bad.
Of course, the manufacturers will have to put expiration or best-before dates onto their products to get them FDA-approved, but what it comes down to is that most quality luster dust products will have an infinite shelf life.
Partly, this is because luster dust is completely dry, and if stored in a sealed container and a dry place (like your kitchen cupboard), it’ll virtually last forever.
PRO TIP: While luster dust can’t go bad, you can certainly ruin it with plain water. As the dust isn’t water-soluble, mixing it with water will only turn it into a sticky and chunky mess. Only mix the dust with clear alcohol, lemon extract, or vegetable oil!
The other reason luster dust won’t expire is that it is made mostly or entirely of inorganic ingredients.
Find out more about all the basic luster dust ingredients by reading the next section of this article!
What Is Luster Dust Made of?
Almost all types of luster dust will include four basic ingredients; mica-based pearlescent, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and dextrose.
Mica is a mineral used as a color additive and to add a shimmer or frost to various food products.
Mica-based pearlescent pigments are formed by depositing titanium or iron salts onto the mica mineral.
Calcination (the heating of solids to a high temperature to remove volatile substances) then produces titanium dioxide and iron oxide on the mica.
These two naturally occurring fine, white powders are the base for almost luster dust products out there.
Dextrose, just like glucose, is a simple sugar derived from corn or wheat.
In luster dust and many other food products, it acts as a preservative and often even as a sweetener (although not in luster dust).
Additionally, many qualitative luster dust products can contain the following ingredients:
- rice protein
- corn starch
- FD and C color additives
Is Luster Dust Edible?
Most luster dust products are edible, food-grade, and hence completely safe for consumption.
You can quickly determine if your luster dust is edible by checking if it is marked “edible” on its label. Manufacturers are required by law to put such a label on all of their edible products, so it’s a safe way to find out!
PRO TIP: Make sure always to buy your luster dust from trusted brands that will only use the highest quality ingredients in their products!
There is also non-edible luster dust available on the market. These products are commonly marked “non-toxic”, “inedible”, or “not for human consumption”.
This non-edible dust is used for decorative purposes only and must be removed from your cake or candy before consumption.
Personally, I always go with the edible dust, as it is so widely available now, and there is really no need to use the somewhat more complicated inedible variant.
How Do You Store Luster Dust?
As previously mentioned, the best place for your luster dust would be a dry, dark, and relatively cool area, such as your kitchen cupboard.
Just store it in the little jars it came in and keep it away from damp areas and water!
Does Luster Dust Have a Taste?
Regardless of its color, luster dust itself is entirely odorless and tasteless and is only meant for decorative purposes.
If you’d want to add a specific flavor to your luster dust, the best thing to do so is by mixing it with highly concentrated lemon or vanilla extract.
What’s important to remember here is to only use extracts with high alcohol content (of at least 80%).
The lower the alcohol content, the harder it’ll be to smoothly mix the extract with the dust, which is why clear alcohol, such as Vodka, works so well in combination with luster dust.
DID YOU KNOW: Mixing your luster dust with Vodka actually doesn’t leave any taste or smell, as the alcohol evaporates almost instantly.
And while lemon extract usually also has a very high alcohol content of 80-90%, things can get more complicated with vanilla extract, as it commonly only contains 30-40% alcohol.
Unfortunately, the lemon extract won’t give you much of its flavor either, as it’ll also evaporate fairly quickly.
Instead, it would be much easier to directly flavor your cake or candy right from the start and use the luster dust for purely decorative purposes.