Thursday, December 19, 2013

Making your own Black Walnut Ink

Easy to make Black Walnut, Brown Ink.
 In the Fall, collect black walnuts from the ground, make sure they are green with brown spots (more the better).  Put them in a plastic bag and let them rot.  The green ones will turn black over a few days or weeks, but be careful the squirrels dont run off with them - my first batch they did!  You do not have to remove the nuts from the hulls - just plop them in a pot as is (bugs and all - eew).  Put them in a pot of water enough water to cover the nuts + a bit more.   Simmer away for a few hours.  If the hulls were not broken apart from ripening in the plastic bag - you can always poke them and tear at them with a knife/fork as they simmer to let all the good brown out of them.  You can check the strength of the ink if you have a white stove top or a paintbrush and paper too.  I think this simmered for three hours - I added more water as to not let it get too low but still only wanting 3/4ths of a Mason jar full.

 I strained out the large pieces of walnut hull/nuts out with a large metal spoon with holes.  I then chucked the spent debris over the garden fence.  Using cotton bags and a blue canning funnel I poured the remaining liquid in to strain...

 Then this happened - too many large pieces remained and over flowed the funnel and out thru the sides.  I quickly changed the cotton cloth to mesh and it worked out much better.  I also had to move the "gunk"' around with a fork so it would go thru the mesh.  
Thats it, easy, messy but easy.  *Guess I should have done this outside*

Store in a mason jar with a lid.  It has been several months now and I see no mold.  Gum Arabic can be added to improve the flow of the color but I like it the way it turned out without it.  If you like the color - great - if not simmer just the liquid down a bit more to get a stronger color.

 Currently I am knitting a large cowl scarf with my latest hand spun plant dyed yarn - I'll show you when I'm finished.

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