The shaggy ink cap mushroom is a beauty to look at and fascinating too. Edible when young and pure white, it starts to turn black within hours of being picked and can disappear from your garden as quickly as it arrived.
The shaggy ink cap is quite unique in that as it matures, in order to spread its spores, it starts to deliquesce into a black mush and dissolve.
I came across a few good-sized shaggy ink caps in very good condition and by the time I got home in the car, all of them had bruised and started to turn dark. I split my find into 2 containers, left one in the fridge and one on the countertop to see how long it would take for them to turn to goo. Surprisingly to me, the container in the fridge turned a lot faster than the room temperature container.
After 3 days, they were nearly all in a liquid state, so I decided to (naively) boil the mixture up. I’m not entirely sure what benefit I thought I would gain from boiling this solution, most likely due to the fact that my previous 3 inks had been boiled at some stage, but I will never, ever do it again. To say the smell was unpleasant is a huge understatement. When the mixture had sufficiently cooled I strained the liquid from the clumps and voila, the ‘ink’ is ready to use.
Technically speaking, it isn’t an actual ink, and despite having the word ink in its name, there were very few resources on making and preserving the ink online. I initially added 2 drops of clove essential oil to act as a preservative to the ink, however, due to the smell that amount quickly increased to 5 drops. As to how long it can be kept, I will come back and update you along the way.
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