Turmeric Ink - A Bright Yellow to Make Your Words Stand Out

Turmeric has one of the most beautiful colors of any spice out there. The rich, decadent golden spice has long had a place in front of the cameras of any number of photographers on a visit to spice markets. It may well not come as a shock that you can use that beautiful, vibrant color to make your words come alive on the page.

Ink - The Basics

Okay, so ink is everywhere, right? Tattoos, pens, and paint to name but a few. All ink that’s out there can be boiled down to two key ingredients:

  • A solvent.
  • A pigment.

There are other ingredients in a lot of different dyes and paints which could help them, for example, stay fast and bright on fabric for several years, but those are the two ingredients that can be found everywhere.

When we say solvent, we mean it in the chemistry sense, as in something that you’ll be dissolving a solid into. This can be water, vinegar, or even a high-proof spirit such as vodka.

The pigment for our means will, of course, be turmeric. It’s that brilliant yellow color that we want to capture and use in our pens, so make sure you get your hands on some authentic, high-grade turmeric for the richest color possible.

Turmeric Ink

The Recipe

It’s a pretty basic recipe, which is something we’re always fans of.

Put two tablespoons of your turmeric in a container, and cover with boiling water. Then, replace the lid and shake it on a regular basis over the next day to ensure your turmeric is as well-dissolved as possible. When you’re happy that it’s dissolved, strain the liquid through cheesecloth or an old t-shirt several times until it’s smooth. Then, add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of vinegar, and a teaspoon of gum arabic. Shake your mixture and leave it overnight to allow the gum Arabic to dissolve fully.

All of those ingredients which are neither solvent nor pigment have their own reason for being there. The salt and vinegar help to preserve your inks. As the ink contains foodstuffs, it’s liable to go bad in a short period of time, but by adding the salt and vinegar, you increase the fridge life of this ink to roughly three or four weeks. To further increase this life span, you can use vodka instead of water in the recipe.

Gum Arabic is the dried sap from the Acacia tree. It can be bought in both powdered and crystal format, both of which will work for this ink recipe. As in many different places across the culinary world, it is used in this recipe as a thickener.