- 1 Cup ripe berries (such as raspberries, strawberries, blackberries)
- 1 Teaspoon vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- Red or blue food coloring (optional)
- Small bowl
- Small jar with lid
Mount Vernon is open to visitors throughout the inauguration week. We look forward to seeing you.
In the 18th century people figured out ways to make their own ink using things found in nature. Berries, acorns, beets, charcoal, and walnuts could all be used to make ink!
Empty the strainer and continue crushing the berries a few at a time until they have all been squeezed into juice.
If the ink is too pale, add a drop of red or blue food coloring.
Enjoy! Try writing your name by dipping a toothpick into the ink.
Please note: Berry ink spoils quickly, so make only a little at a time. Keep the ink jar tightly covered when you are not using it.
During the 18th century, the best ink to have was Iron Gall Ink. It was made of iron, tree galls (a knot formed when a certain type of wasp burrows into a tree), and gum Arabic. Most of these ingredients had to be imported, and as a result, ink could be very expensive. Powdered Iron Gall Ink was the most popular form of ink because the person using it could mix up exactly the amount they needed.
If Iron Gall Ink was not available, people figured out ways to make their own ink using things found in nature. Berries, acorns, beets, charcoal, and walnuts could all be used to make ink!