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Pioneer Craft:
Homemade Ink from Berries

Before ink cartridges came along, it wasn't that long ago that ball point pens were high-tech. Before that, there was the fountain pen, and before that the ink pen and quill. True ink could be very expensive so many pioneers had to make their own. Inks were made at home from many different ingredients depending on what color was needed or wanted.

According to different sources, they used berries, powdered roots, nuts, and even chimney soot. Here is a simple recipe for making a good quality ink from berries. The final color of your ink will depend on what kind of berries you chose to use.


1/2 cup of ripe berries (blueberries, cherries, blackberries, strawberries, elderberries, raspberries, etc.
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt


measuring cups and spoon
wooden spoon
baby food jar


1. Fill the strainer with the berries and hold it over a bowl.

2. Using the rounded back of a wooden spoon, crush the berries against the strainer so that the berry juice strains into the bowl.

3. Keep adding berries until most of their juice has been strained out and only pulp remains.

4. Add the salt and vinegar to the berry juice. The vinegar helps the ink to retain its color and the salt keeps it from getting moldy.

5. If the berry ink is too thick, a tablespoon of water.

6. Store in baby food jar.

7. Only make a small amount of berry ink at a time and when not in use, keep it tightly covered.


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