Squid are wonderful creatures. They’re available in sizes small to giant, taste great, and are a fabulous source of natural ink. Squid use the ink to confuse predators, but you can use it for cooking or printing. Learn how to harvest your own fresh squid ink, so when you’re stranded on a desert island, you’ll have the best SOS messages around!

To get started, catch or buy your squid. If you buy, make sure they are still whole; if they’re pre-cleaned, all of that wonderful ink will be gone. If the flesh has started to turn pink (instead of cream or white) or smell, buy your squid elsewhere. Boxes of frozen squid should be solid, without evidence of leakage or thawing. Small squid are tastier and easier to cook, but they have less ink.

If you’re going to be printing, get lots of the little guys.