Art education, inspiration and encouragement for children and parents in Arlington, VA
My neighbor texted me when he spotted the round lime green balls on the road in late October. I followed his directions driving in my car with my paper bags next to me.
There is something about the scent of fresh walnuts that take me to a special place. I associate these nuts with my father, who said "black walnuts are a delicacy". He'd spend a lot of time peeling the green husks, cracking the outer nut shell to get to the delectable meat inside.
I have tried making walnut ink many ways: with just green husks, with just black husks, boiling for an hour, for twelve hours, making a reduction. My findings are the same no matter how I do it I get the very same brown ink. There is only one way to make it darker and richer in my experience: add the ink to a cast iron pan and turn the heat up for 12-30 minutes. It makes a very dark brown/black ink. Play with timing to get different coloring.
Put your gloves on because all parts of this process will stain your hands for days.
The husks come off easily when a rock is used to press them open. These husks are green and not rotten inside yet. The black rot is okay to boil and use as ink. Black walnuts may have a walnut maggot inside to help it with the decay process. Gross but natural.
Cover the walnuts with water, bring to boil and then simmer. The husks will all turn black.
Painters filters can be found in stores that sell paint for interior/exterior use. I like to use these filters because the holes are more porous. Coffee filters often take away so much of the ingredient that the color suffers.
Interesting Walnut facts: