Instructables

How to Harvest Squid Ink

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Clean your own squid, and collect ink for printing or cooking! As seen in Craft Magazine, Vol. 4.


Video by my ever-awesome collaborator, noahw.

 
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Step 1: Obtain Squid

Catch or purchase your squid.

If you purchase squid, make sure they are still whole- if they're pre-cleaned all of that wonderful ink will be gone!

A fresh squid has reddish-brown spots on a white or cream-colored body- if the flesh has started to turn pink or smell, buy your squid elsewhere. Boxes of frozen squid should be solid, without evidence of leakage or freeze-thawing. Small squid are tastier and easier to cook, but they have less ink.

Step 2: Remove ink sac

You will be extracting squid ink from two sources- the main ink sac in the body, and small secondary deposits behind the eyes.

First, pull the head and tentacles out of the body cavity. The guts will come along with the head: look for the small thin silvery sac about halfway along.

Carefully detach the ink sac, taking care not to puncture it. It's attached at the ends, so just slip your knife underneath and cut away from the center to remove it.

Step 3: Prep container

Now you'll need a small non-porous glass, ceramic, or metal bowl- squid ink can stain plastic, unglazed ceramic, and cloth.

If you're going to print with your ink, put a tablespoon of matte medium, linseed oil or other ink carrier medium into the bowl. To cook with your ink, use a tablespoon of water or vinegar instead. It's easy to dilute your ink later- start concentrated now to keep your options open.
This is truly fantastic: I never would have tried to do it myself, but have wanted to ever since reading an historical anecdote about how sometimes the writing in whaling Captain's logs would change color as they ran out of commercial ink and started using squid "sepia"!
alex26i6 years ago
What is the biggest advantage of spending hours and hours of getting squid ink, over say a 1 dollar bottle of Indian ink? There must be a reason you needed squid ink.
You NEED squid ink, because it is possible. Imagine your guests delight, when you tell them your wedding invites were hand-lettered with squid ink. I often use hand-made paper for cards, when cheapo cardstock can be purchased at WalMart for next to nothing. It is the beauty of DIY, not the economic factors that drive such a decision.
Great answer some people will never get it! I have another idea...imagine you end up on deserted island and you want to write your goodbye letter or bottle letter..what do you do if you cant go to Walmart...you go and catch some squid :-D the reason is we are much closer to canned food and Walmart then to the nature that we came from..sad
zascecs alex26i5 years ago
To make an awsome instructable like this! 5 stars!
Thanks so much for the video. I found a dying Giant Humboldt squid on the beach in front of my house yesterday and thanks to your video I now have a jar of ink and squid steaks.
Sandisk1duo5 years ago
what does the ink taste like? i'm just curious
knarx5 years ago
How you made the instructables stamp, you used to make the squid ink print?
put the ink in one of those old (calligraphy, I think) nib pens
lupinesoul5 years ago
You should be a hand model! xD
rachel6 years ago
Or, just ask the squid nicely (well, octopus, but still):

http://www.odd-fish.net/index.php?comic_id=31
just throw the whole thing in the blender, if you don't end up with black ink, at least you'll have red ink.
could i print on shirts or would that wash of
canida (author)  ninja slacker6 years ago
I have no idea! Maybe you'd need to add something as a fixative? Try it and tell me.
RaNDoMLeiGH6 years ago
That's cool, gross, and crafty all at once. Never tried squid ink anything, though I like calamari. I remember reading somewhere (Wired? Maybe it was RU Sirius's writing) about someone making squid ink pasta and serving it with sauteed endive and gently mashed blueberries and cream. They'd used Gorgonzola cheese (that's not how you spell it, is it?) as the oil for the sautee-ing -- threw a lump of cheese in a really hot skillet so that it separated, and the golden cheese oil was just right for sauteeing the endive. The colors alone were something to behold but supposedly it tasted good.
canida (author)  RaNDoMLeiGH6 years ago
Cool- I love the idea of using a rich cheese for the oil- it must taste fabulous. (I think you got Gorgonzola right!) The squid ink is mainly for color. It adds a bit of flavor, but it's subtle.
We don't catch a lot of squid in Missouri, but my daughters would love to use the ink in their artwork. And, at least for us midwesterners, this whole "squid thang" is just weird enough to entice them to try it. When my oldest was about 3 she was fighting me for fried Calamari strips - convinced they were french fries! Excellent instructable! Excellent video! Now I'll have to go pick up the "Squid for Dummies" book, unless you've got links to some more resources.
weddy6 years ago
Well... Squid in it's ink sauce is a yummi traditionnal spanish dish I learned from my mom and grand-ma, quite simple : just squid are prepared like in the video, sliced and sauted in olive oil with a bit of garlic, onions, salt and pepper, and the ink to make the sauce. Then served with saffron rice. Wow ! IN Italy, they make black pasta. Delicious. But I have to say that here in France, it is really really difficult to find whole squids, they sell them empied and clean. And when you re lucky to get them they are very expensive. So I think it is better to make a nice dish for family and friends than to use the ink for printing ! That would be much too expensive and time consuming, not to say I am afraid it could also be a bit "smelly", wouldn't it ! Nice video !
alex26i6 years ago
In Hongkong, They have a squid ink noodle they make. I have had them before.
tc_whitley6 years ago
Thats pretty cool. Now, I may love the delicious taste of squid but how does their ink taste?
tw2sheds6 years ago
Well a clean squid is a happy squid... but not this time!
Yay! Very cool! And really nice video!
whatsisface6 years ago
I just can't think of a Squid Labs pun to fit. It should be so easy... :'-(
zachninme6 years ago
Very nice tutorial, although I don't know if I'll even want to use it... How many squids did it take to make the dish you were after?
umm. eukk!